Regional newspaper publisher CN Group is trialling a revenue share scheme for its hyperlocal news website contributors.

The group, which began the launch of its 20-strong network of community sites in July, is advertising for part-time correspondents for eight areas in Cumbria: Wigton, Aspatria, Brampton, Dalston, Keswick, Longtown, Penrith and Silloth.

The correspondents will receive 25 per cent of any revenue generated by the sites, which varies between properties. Sites carrying at least five adverts will pay around £80 a month, Nick Turner, CN Group's head of digital content development, told the Digital Editors Network meeting yesterday.

The revenue share will act as an incentive for contributors. It is intended to support journalists working on the sites and increase the flow of information on them, added Turner.

"We're looking at the reality of the situation. We want people in these communities to have more ownership of the sites," said Turner.

"We are looking for people to be the eyes and ears of the community and stand up for that community."

Contributors are given direct access to the sites and there is a distinct difference between the information that they post and the news content added by journalists, said Turner.

"This is not a replacement of our local journalism - we're very strong in local journalism. It's to assist those journalists and act as a bridge between them and the community, and give them more resources on the ground," he said.

"We're not asking these correspondents to write the same kind of stories that they'd [journalists] usually write."

The publisher has now run around 60 training sessions for local groups, such as clubs and societies, who contribute to the sites.

More advanced sessions have also taken place: 30 members of community groups and correspondents recently received basic journalism training from the University of Cumbria.

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