Glasgow West End Today is an independently-owned hyperlocal* news and general interest platform covering the West End and west Glasgow. It’s small and it’s different.
The site was set up by freelance journalist Ian Marland in 2016 as an experiment in what could be achieved with minimal resources (namely one person with a website, a laptop, and an iPhone) in a large city with a fiercely competitive media market. The move was also a reaction to seismic changes among consumers now accessing content on smart devices, and falling newspaper readership.
Not pretending to be a rolling news service, the platform has become a trusted source of regular and informative posts solely focused on one area of the city, its diverse communities and varied events. Posts range in topic from restaurant openings and business launches, to local planning matters and community happenings.
Even though the site is on a much, much smaller scale than established media, interest in its content has grown rapidly since it launched. As a result, by December 2021, its social media channels and emailing list had more than 48,000 followers and subscribers.
The emphasis is always on positivity and community, and in areas away from sport and politics which are already well-catered for by mainstream outlets. Where we can, we like to bring something a little bit different to your screens with content and stories that other media wont or can’t cover. We don’t really follow a daily news agenda.
Like many small hyperlocal sites, the platform is constantly evolving, and the plan is for Glasgow West End Today to continue changing in the coming months. Ultimately, the aim is to involve new writers and embed social enterprise and community interest into the fabric of the platform.
In December 2021, Glasgow West End Today parted from its founding company Hyperlocal Today, and the site is now wholly based in Scotland. In 2022, there are plans to further expand the platform and put it on a sustainable footing. We hope to announce more about our plans soon.
Meanwhile, the site has been testing out new revenue models to boost income and increase free content for its readers. Currently, we welcome submitted press releases and photos for publication that appeal to the site’s predominantly Glasgow-based audience. Alongside this service, we have launched a number of successful local paid partnership promotions for businesses and hope to evolve our packages further in 2022.
Ian has 30 years experience in newspapers and Scottish news media. He previously worked for The Herald and Scotsman newspapers, and was chief reporter for The Press Association national news wire agency in Scotland. As a freelance writer and reporter, Ian has worked for the BBC, STV, the i paper, and he currently writes for The Times (Scotland). He has also worked for a number of charities in a freelance role.
As well as writing, Ian shoots and edits digital content on smart phones. He is also responsible for updating and growing the site’s social media channels.
* The term hyperlocal has been used in journalistic circles for more than 30 years and refers to a platform or publication that is usually independently-operated, small-scale and focused on a defined geographical area, for which it provides news or general interest content.