Croydon Citizen
Credit: Croydon Citizen
This week the Croydon Citizen, which launched online late last year as a place where members of the public could become content contributors, launched a free monthly print magazine.

The 16-page magazine, which will be handed out at train stations to catch commuters to London as well as being available at other locations in Croydon, was launched in an effort to reach new readers not already finding the content online, to introduce new revenue streams and to allow the team to be more "creative".

Croydon Citizen front page

Over the past year, the website has grown from a starting contributor base of 15, plus a four-person strong editorial team, to a community of 70 "regular contributors" today. The site now records around 10,000 monthly unique users.

Editor-in-chief James Naylor said the community of voluntary contributors "steer the kind of content that gets produced", largely of a comment or analytical style, which is then edited before publication. Content production is supported by the fact that residents are "really engaged in their community", he said, especially following the 2011 riots.

He added that more news-style content is "very expensive" due to the need of having a "dedicated news team", but said they hope "to explore" the potential for this in future.

While Naylor started the Croydon Citizen using his own funds, he reached out to the community when it came to introducing a print product, raising £2,400 in crowdfunding in 30 days. Yesterday the title was launched in print, with distribution of 10,000 copies.

One of the three main driving forces behind the print launch was "partly about engaging a new audience", Naylor said, in particular those who are perhaps not already accessing the content online.

He also felt, from his experience, that there was more opportunity in print advertising revenue. "From what I can see in print there is still really healthy revenue there", he said. Although he also added that the outlet is heading towards a "social enterprise structure", and therefore "this isn't about building a massive business or making a huge amount of profit".

The third reasoning behind the decision was "creative", Naylor said, in terms of what is possible "with a physical news magazine" – including the idea of offering themed editions.

Content is a combination of the "strongest and topical archive content", as well as original content for the magazine. Content first appearing in the magazine is likely to then be published online, Naylor added.

Update: This article was updated to clarify the Croydon Citizen will pursue a social enterprise structure.

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