In The Nase Adresa initative, which means "our address", was given the green light to launch 150 weekly papers, 1,000 websites and 89 news cafes across the Czech Republic by owners PPF Group. The expansion plans were put in place after a successful pilot in four regions of the country involving seven print editions and four news cafes were launched in spring 2009 by then CEO Roman Gallo.
Speaking at the World Editors Forum in Hamburg last week, Gallo said he had resigned from his role at the end of September. He had been given just four days to shut down the operations including the project's state-of-the-art training centre the Futuroom.
Based in Prague, the Futuroom had been backed by companies including Atex, Google and Apple and was part of an €8 million (£6.65 million) investment in the project. It had been used as a training centre for journalists working on the Nase Adresa scheme and a central editorial hub offering support to the network of local reporters. The centre was launched with the support of the World Association of Newspapers, which described it as a "sophisticated, converged newsroom".
But Journalism.co.uk understands that the centre has been closed and is standing unused and unsold. Calls to the Futuroom are met with a dead phone line.
PPF Group sold Nase Adresa as part of PPF Media to a private investor in late August. In a release at the time the group said the project had not met its "parameters of return of investment".
"After a thorough analysis of the pilot phase of the project, PPF Group has evaluated the project of hyperlocal media in several Czech regions and has decided not to continue with the project. The PPF's decision to sell the company is based primarily on its non-compliance with PPF's new investment standards/rules, which reflect the Group's shift towards larger, consistent investments with a minimum amount of €100 million," the group said.
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