What is this site for?
The site is written by and for people who live, work or study in King’s Cross. We think it’s London’s most fascinating neighbourhood. It is about efforts by the local community to keep the streets of King’s Cross in London clean and liveable. We act as a community bulletin board as well as an online news and campaigning service. This site only shows the tip of the iceberg of a huge range of activism and volunteering in King’s Cross.
Who writes it?
There is a small team of volunteers who write for the site:
- Zannthie Bennett (acting chair of the emerging Neighbourhood Forum)
- Clare Hill
- Robert Milne (of King’s Cross Development Forum)
- Sean Murray
- Will Perrin (founder and manager of this site and founder of Talk About Local)
- Stephan Schulte
- Sophie Talbot (volunteer manager of King’s Cross Community Projects)
- Daniel Zylbersztajn
In addition a big pool of readers and supporters provide us with local information of all kinds. We go on holiday, have lives and stuff so it isn’t a 365×24 process.
Where does your material come from?
We mainly write original material sourced from the streets, from readers emailing us or from news that we have picked up from various outlets. We research our material throughly before publishing and include relevant links to source material wherever possible.
What area do you cover?
King’s Cross is at the junction of two boroughs – Camden and Islington. The railway stations are in Camden, but people who identify as living in King’s Cross reside in both boroughs – in a roughly half-mile radius, or north and south of the Euston Road, and this is the area we cover. (A helpful map of the area has been produced by local charity King’s Cross Community Projects.)
What are your politics?
We work with whoever is committed to helping us. All four main parties have acknowledged the work of the community around this site. We don’t allow comments on party politics and our readers tell us they like it that way.
There is an active tussle between the Liberal Democrats and Labour in the area. The Islington South MP Emily Thornberry is Labour. The Holborn and St Pancras MP Kier Starmer is Labour.
How many people read the stuff on this site?
An average of about 500 people read content from this site every day. On our busiest day, 25 July 2012, we had 3,403 unique hits. Readership is split between unique visitors and email subscribers using the excellent Feedburner service, click here to subscribe.
There are over 1,200 articles on the site and about the same amount of comments. The general comparison we make is with community newsletters shoved under doors – a website like this is far cheaper (indeed nearly free) and much quicker. There is no way we could reach this many people with a newsletter. Community email lists are very popular but don’t act as a public knowledge store as this site does.
How do you handle comments?
We encourage healthy dialogue and debate. We are realistic about the fact that many open comment sites are ruined by ranters or trolls. This site was never intended to be a blog as such, it just uses blogging software. So comments are moderated before approval. Well over 95 per cent of comments are approved. We do approve comments that disagree with the overall tone of the site or the specifics of a particular post, but we don’t approve comments from ranters or trolls.
How do I set up a site like this?
The site uses the wordpress.com blogging service at a cost of about £100 a year (the cost of a few evenings out drinking or a few football tickets). If you can use, say Yahoo or Google webmail, you can set up and run a site like this. The technology is the easy bit – the content is much more important. Focus on that first and add techno bells and whistles later. If you want to set up a hyperlocal site for your area checkout talkaboutlocal.com.
Where do the videos come from?
We make our own using a mobile phone or cheap camcorder and edit them on a laptop. The video is embedded into the site from YouTube. We also embed other videos that we find on YouTube about Kings Cross. There’s also a prototype online video channel about Kings Cross that we occasionally update.
Useful related links
King’s Cross Neighbourhood Forum (local people shaping the area under the Localism Act)
King’s Cross Community Projects (for local community groups with an interest in public art, the environment and public amenities)
King’s Cross Railway Lands Group (a network with many years’ experience of campaigning on local planning issues)
King’s Cross Voices (oral history archive)