Last year One&Other, which runs a website alongside a monthly magazine, ran pilots to test the concept of showcasing local charities and encouraging community involvement.
And the results mean managing director Stuart Goulden is now "pinning our future on something we call 'solutions journalism'", he told Journalism.co.uk.
As well as paying staff wages and ensuring growth, the revenue raised by the media outlet – largely earned through advertising, as well as marketing services – is also put towards "serving the local community and giving causes a voice as well", he said. "I think that ethos has really resonated with a lot of people".
Local media has a responsibility to "explore the issues that affect the communities that they serve", he added.
"We think sometimes that's forgotten so we're pinning our future on something we call 'solutions journalism'. So that's giving a voice to these issues and the people that support them and then encouraging our readers to be part of the solution."
This 'solutions journalism' approach will be driven by a community manager. Last year One&Other piloted a project which saw coverage given to a different charity or cause each day, with articles embedded with a facility to enable readers to offer their time to volunteer.
"We've got a vested interest in the area so we want to be able to make a difference and actually go that one step further than just reporting the news, to actually offer some solutions," he said.
The result in one example, relating to the RSPCA in York, saw 15 volunteers get involved.
"We've proven that the concept does work. Currently the alternative for them generating volunteers is simply people typing into Google 'I want to volunteer'. So we're actually trying to grow the numbers of people who volunteer within the city."
"... We've got a good relationship with quite a few [charities and community groups] now but also via bodies such as York CVS (York Council for Voluntary Services)".
He said that the idea is "about telling their stories which they really struggle to get told elsewhere".
"It's almost helping create news as well. Good news, which is really important," he added.
Now One&Other is setting up a second social enterprise called One&Other TV, which was also piloted last year. They are hiring filmmakers who will help tell the stories "in a different medium, perhaps the most exciting medium", Goulden said.
"One&Other TV is an extension of what we're doing already in a different medium and also helping local businesses, local charities, just local people tell their stories in a different way". He added that this is also being set up "with an eye to the local TV licence coming up again in York".
"So we'd just like to push ourselves a bit further, just see how we can really push what local media's doing in that area and just see where it takes us to be honest."
Goulden feels that running the business as a social enterprise will be "far more sustainable in the long run", and added that One&Other has already got in six figures in revenue this year. The magazine has also recently increased its circulation by a third to 20,000 copies.
"We just want to show others in our position that we are very purposefully different, but you have to be ambitious. There is a future in the industry."
Correction: The article has been updated to correct that the pilot coverage was for a different charity each day, not each month. A quote referring to the number of charities and community groups has also been removed due to the number now considered to be incorrect.
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