Today is the launch and official unveiling of a new website from yours truly, a directory of news sites in the Greater London area, sorted by the 32 boroughs and four regions of a city at the heart of the British media landscape. The London Local News Directory, or LLND is a modern take on the traditional news website directory, which has been a cornerstone of the web for news junkies since the late Nineties.
This new website has been the culmination of around two weeks of intense research across the wider internet as a whole as well as social media platforms. The directory’s premise is a simple one. It lists nearly every news site in the Greater London area from Barking & Dagenham to the city of Westminster, covering north to south, west to east. Not only does LLND list every local paper’s website in the area, but it also has listings for news blogs, community and hyperlocal sites, student newspapers written by attendees from some of London’s top universities, as well as council-run and ethnic community publications, and even ‘talking newspapers’ for the blind and partially sighted. Around 180 publications are featured on the site, split in different geo-political areas, regions, as well as pages dedicated to London-wide media and city-oriented links from national and international news providers, and a handy linkspace of resources for trainee reporters and news students.
The site was designed to have the feel of a modern newspaper website itself, with the Guardian and Telegraph newspapers being key design influences. Each entry for a publication contains contact details, and a link to follow the news outlet’s Twitter feed, as well as a direct link to the organisation or blog’s website. The directory also features handy maps of the London boroughs, so that people can find out where a borough is located within London and the country.
LLND is ideal for anyone who has an interest in local media in London, such as media professionals and students, journalism researchers, and people looking for outlets to cover important local events and stories. The site is invaluable for London-based journalism and writing graduates who are looking for news organisations to send job applications and press articles, as well as advertisers and PR officers looking to target their products to a regional audience.
The London Local News Directory is probably the most comprehensive listing of London news services anywhere on the web. While there are many directories and listings online that cover regional and local press for the UK, including publications based in London, most publish their data as simple lists on a page for their main site, with many actually full of outdated and obsolete links and information, or only including the main news providers in the city. LLND is the only directory that is dedicated to covering the entire landscape of locally-focussed online textual news media to a highly detailed and aesthetically attractive degree.
I began putting together the directory earlier this month while recovering from coronavirus and having to self-isolate at home, with not much to do and no-one to visit. I originally toyed with the idea of creating a business directory of local firms in my area, the Seven Kings district of Ilford, near London, but the idea gradually mutated into what is now my new website. I have nothing but pride, excitement and a sense of achievement for what was for me, a special passion project born out of the privations of the Third Lockdown. I created the framework and design of LLND using the free website development tools provided by Google Sites, as I have limited knowledge of HTML/CSS coding as used by web designers and developers. I brought in some very artful and high-resolution stock photo imagery from Unsplash and also created the site logo and some banner graphics using the DIY graphic design service Canva. It was quite an easy project to put together, helped in large part by the functionality of Google Sites allowing for instant duplication of pages and page elements, which helps explain the quick half-a-month turnaround of the site. I later purchased a ‘co.uk’ domain from the British net registrar Nutty About Hosting, who do incredibly cheap deals on domain names, meaning I only have to pay in the region of 40 pence a month to have the site hosted.
The readers and followers of HEM News Agency will be the very first to see the new and live London Local News Directory. Please feel free to visit the site, have a lookaround and explore its features. I am more than happy to receive your feedback, criticisms and ideas for how the site can be developed and improved further, as I have still much to learn from all this.
You can visit London Local News Directory at the following URL: https://www.ldnlocalnews.co.uk/
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