Everyone’s interested to know whats going on in their neighborhood. Local news and events often have a direct impact on our daily lives. Traditional media, however, only manages to cover a fraction of it. The fraction they miss out on is covered by Local Press Co.
Local Press Co is an app that allows individuals to report and follow news from in & around their neighbourhood. With their hyperlocal & mobile first approach, users can report news within seconds. All it takes is a headline, an image, a category & location. Once added, news stories are served to relevant users based on their location and radius preference. Users can validate, comment, share and subscribe to news reports.
The idea just occurred to Punit Rajpal, the founder, one day. The idea of making a local news app was a conscious and evolved decision. After a research of news coverage, he concluded:
* People are interested in local news
* Existing media outlets can’t possibly cover all local stories
* Crowd sourcing was the only option for sourcing local news
* People were already posting local news on social media
* Finding news from within social media was a herculean task due to sheer volume of content
Well, the next step was to build a platform that:
* Makes reporting news as easy as posting on social media
* Is focused on news alone
* Leverages location services to keep news local to the user’s location
For real time reporting of news and full use of location services, a mobile first approach was decided.
Currently, it seems to be the only platform that crowdsources local news and uses location services to keep the news local. The indirect competitors: validated news outlets (e.g. newspapers) and in-validated news outlets (e.g. Social Media)., have either limited reach (former) or has a plethora of content which makes it impossible to segregate the news from everything else.
“To be honest, the only reason we are so different from any other news outlet or platform is because we’ve had the time to study what they do well, dissect their shortcomings and tailored the app around that.” says Punit
Local Press Co look to be the first one to target the local news segment with a crowdsourced and app only approach. Also, the numbers in the Indian market always look promising:
* India’s Internet users will cross 500 Million by 2020
* India already has 213 Million active Mobile Internet Users
* 45 Million people read news online in 2014
Millions of potential users already. How many of them are garnered is the real question.
They are currently in the private beta stage.
Release Date: 15th June
Platform: Android and iOS
In-app Purchases: No
* Once the app is installed, users can report hyperlocal news as it breaks
* News is categorized into 5 categories – News, Places, Causes, Commute &
* In order to report news on the app, users just needs to add a headline, an image, select the category and location (description is optional)
* Once a news report is added, it starts showing up on nearby user’s reportfeed
* Users who actively report are assigned a ‘trust score’ based on their report’s accuracy and count
* The trust score can be green, yellow or red.
* When a user first logs in, the app requires the user to specify whether the user wants to receive news from their current location (high battery usage) or select one default location and continue receiving news from around that location (low battery usage)
* Once the location is set, the app starts serving news from within 5 KMs of the user’s location
* The user also has the ability to reduce the news radius to 2 KM or increase it to include news from around the city
* Other than location customization, the app also allows for content customization
* In order to customize the content, a user simply has to select the news category that interests him/her and the app will serve news only from that category
Since it is impossible for them to verify each news story themselves, they entrust the power of validating news in the hands of the users. Users can simply ‘vouch’ for news that they think is accurate and ‘dismiss’ the news that is inaccurate. Based on the user’s actions, reports with higher accuracy get displayed on top and one’s with lower accuracy are pushed down and eventually removed.
Headquartered in Mumbai, it has 3 permanent members along with a group of professionals and freelancers.
Punit Rajpal is the founder of Local Press Co and a collegue, Andrea is the only stakeholder in it. He worked in Directi for over 7 years prior to starting Local Press Co and Andrea was a part of his team there. She liked the concept and they’ve been working together since then. Andrea handles the online marketing and content part of the business while Punit handle the technology and finance bit. They also have one team member handling content & marketing currently and they plan on hiring a content curator in the coming week. They have bootstrapped their expenses, but plan to raise funds in the near future.
App specific, they would like to cross these 3 key milestones in their first 6 months:
Post launch, these are the first 3 key milestones that we would like to cross (within 6 months):
* 10,000 downloads
* 5000 news reports
* 3000 average daily users
For the next release, customer feedback will be evaluated and the most promising 3-4 features would be added on. Performance tuning and bug fixing will continue simultaneously. Raising funds will be their priority, since that would help them market the app across all Tier I and Tier II cities to get maximum possible penetration in India. There are also plans on taking the platform global, but they’ll do that only after they’ve made it here.