Melissa Edwards takes a look at community journalism/activism site FreshTies
What do they say it is?
“FreshTies main aim is to encourage individuals, charities and businesses alike to actively participate in their local community. It gives individuals the chance to swap things, find local news and ways to help their community; buinesses the chance to promote their services, news to classifieds and initiatives;charities the chance to reach more people for support, resources and funds. It gives budding journalists/writers in need of experience, and those who would like a higher profile, the opportunity to write about their local community in various roles, as editor, reporter or features writer on local content, as well as content for a national audience.”
What do we say it is?
An interesting up and coming citizen journalism project set up by a former City lawyer, Ashish Poddar, that allows people to write about local issues and topics that interest them. From the information provided on the site it seems that individual writers will have a considerable amount of scope to develop their own stories and ideas and have a real choice in what they write about. An excellent way to gain experience and to participate in your local community at the same time. To access the FreshTies site fully you need to join as a member, which allows you to search for FreshTies members in your area. An individual membership costs £10.00 —- £5.00 of which goes to FreshTies and £5.00 going to a local fund to benefit your community.
What makes it great?
It is a well developed site and the developers obviously believe in what they are doing.
What mistakes are they making?
Although the website is well presented and easy to navigate, there needs to be a clearer explanation of what you can be expected to have access to when you join FreshTies as a member – it doesn’t really specify what is available to you at present which will potentially put some people off from joining.
How is it going to make money?
Freshties is a regulated, not-for-profit organisation, which makes money from its membership fees alone – they use all profits for causes in the community.However, because this is a slightly different take on many of the citizen journalism projects out there already, it provides an alternative for people who want to actively participate in journalistic pursuits. However, without any real advertising, word of mouth is the only way that the site is going to get further publicity. A lot will depend on whether current FreshTies members are happy with the services that they are receiving at present and if they are telling their friends about the site.
Should I pay any attention?
Yes. If you are interested about participating in writing about local community issues FreshTies offers the perfect opportunity to get involved and meet like minded people.
by Melissa Edwards