Pits n Pots screen

Pits n Pots created a print edition to 'increase awareness in the city'

Hyperlocal Stoke-on-Trent politics site Pits n Pots has doubled its web traffic after distributing a one-off print edition.

The newspaper, which was produced by journalism students at Staffordshire University, was created as a marketing tool, aiming to improve awareness in the city of the hyperlocal website.

The idea to print and distribute 50,000 copies came from the Journalism Foundation, set up in December under the leadership of Simon Kelner, former editor of the Independent, and supported by the Lebedev family, owners of the Independent and Evening Standard.

The foundation is supporting Pits n Pots, helping develop ideas that could make it financially sustainable.

"Printing the paper was something that I was particularly skeptical about, it has to be said," Mike Rawlins, who edits and runs Pits n Pots in his spare time, told Journalism.co.uk.

"Pits n Pots has always been online, it is designed to be online, that's how it works."

Rawlins said the decision to print 50,000 copies was based on the circulation of the local daily paper the Sentinel and works out at "roughly one for every other house in Stoke-on-Trent".

Delivery of the 16-page print edition is still ongoing.

Rawlins said he would "possibly" consider printing a second edition. "Having seen the quality of journalism from the students I wouldn't be adverse to producing another copy, possibly with a lower print run."

He also suggested that rather than pay to deliver the newspaper through letter boxes he would consider the idea of putting it in pubs where people "historically have always discussed politics".
  • For more from Mike Rawlins and how other hyperlocals have opted for 'reverse publishing', creating a print edition to pay for a website, listen to this week's Journalism.co.uk podcast.

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