Hebe Media are delighted to announce the first issue of The City Talking, a brand new newspaper for Leeds. The paper marks the latest step in a three year journey that has seen the project, which started out as a Facebook page for friends to talk about Leeds, become a multi-media network reaching more than 60,000 young people online, on mobile and now in print.
The first issue of The City Talking is a twenty page, full colour tabloid sized newspaper. 10,000 copies will be distributed free to the public, primarily in Leeds city centre. The paper focusses on life and style, and the first issue includes interviews with fashion designer Henry Holland, publisher James Brown and Leeds band The Pigeon Detectives. Other pages include features on the history of Burtons, Leeds Digital Fashion Week and Kirkgate Market, as well as travel advice from published author Shang-Ting Peng. The newspaper is edited by Daniel Chapman and Stacey Hicken, with art direction by Leeds design studio Rabbit Hole.
The City Talking was started three years ago, on Facebook, by a small group of friends seeking an antidote to what they felt was a weakness in the local media offer: it wasn’t speaking to a young audience. The page very quickly attracted thousands of members.
"We wanted to chat about things that the local media, speaking frankly, were not talking about,” says Lee Hicken of Hebe Media. "As the number of people liking the page grew into the thousands we knew we were on to something.”
After three years of organic growth it now reaches more than 60,000 people via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a dedicated website that launched in May 2012. "We want The City Talking to be a truly multi-platform experience, and mobile and print were always on our agenda", explains Lee. "The timing seemed right and working with some amazing partners and storytellers sped up our decision to move to the next level.”
In 2012 the project received investment from the UK innovation agency, Nesta, to develop a mobile news service for Leeds. The outcome, a mobile app named Solomon, will launch in May 2013 and will provide people across the city with a way to create, discover and share stories about life in Leeds, wherever they are.
"Our new website, which launches today, provides an improved mobile experience but with Solomon we wanted to design something totally different, built from the ground up, and designed for mobile," says Simon Zimmerman, who leads on the digital component of The City Talking's offer. "We're really excited about launching the service, and we think it's going to redefine how news and views about life in Leeds are shared and consumed."
"With the launch of our paper we've taken the first big step in our plan to make The City Talking the media space for young people in Leeds. Mobile comes next and then we have our sights set firmly on video," concludes Lee.