It’s time for a new era of hyperlocal journalism

beabee is our answer to the loss of trust in journalism: Let’s empower people to start independent local newsrooms for and with the communities they serve.

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  • Platform

Our approach: Community First

We want to support journalism that puts community back at the heart of how it is produced and funded.

Together, we are building open source software that allows you to build strong relationships with people in your community by involving them in your reporting at every step.

We kicked this project off in the Ruhr region of Germany but we are also looking for partners across Europe to join us.

  • Software

What we are building

Your community and data belongs to you.

  • Your own branded user and member area

  • One central database to manage your users and members

  • Integrated payment solutions

  • Tools for community engagement:
    e.g. votings, crowd investigations, surveys, discussion groups

  • Integrated templates and guides to help you engage people and work together effectively

“Doing journalism together with our communities is one of the few ways to build a resilient news organisation and to have an impact with our work as journalists.”

David Schraven

CORRECTIV – Recherchen für die Gesellschaft

“I’ve been dreaming of an open source CRM for community-centred approaches to journalism for years. We need it badly at the Bristol Cable and I hope many others will find it empowering too.”

Lucas Batt

The Bristol Cable

engage. connect. grow.

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You might have heard different terms over the last years for what we call community journalism. E.g. engaged journalism or people powered journalism. At the heart of this is a very simple idea: Journalism that responds to community needs and is created with community participation.

It starts with listening and building relationships first. Newsrooms create stories in collaboration with their communities and they provide a lot of space for exchange and listening to community needs. And yes, they also ask the community to contribute financially.

They see audiences as active contributors, informants, collaborators, members, supporters, volunteers and also team members and not as customers.

We think membership should be part of a community newsroom’s business model.

Membership means that, even if you offer your content for free, people pay you a monthly contribution in order to support your work. Why? Because they believe in the cause, they can see the impact they have through you right at their doorstep, because you give them something to identify with and belong to.

This is different from a subscription, where you pay for access to the content in the first place. And it is different to a donation, because people commit to supporting you with a monthly payment.

In a resilient newsroom membership fees are always just part of the revenue mix. But they are the foundation to build a lasting sustainable business model. Your paying members are your most important stakeholders, critics, contributors of ideas and ambassadors along the way.

beabee focuses on the needs of those first who want to keep their local communities informed and engaged around issues that matter to them.

This is where we see the biggest need and potential right now for creating better, more accessible and ethical tools to build and nurture community relationships.

In the longterm beabee can be relevant for anyone anywhere who wants to build strong communities that make a difference.

Especially when it comes to local communities we see lots of actors that are important for keeping people informed, engaged and connected to what’s happening around them: Community groups, local clubs, libraries, and more.

We see lots of people taking things into their own hands when it comes to transforming the places where they live.

That’s why we believe it is not just professional journalists who can build community newsrooms. It’s everyone who has the passion to explore local topics, create connections between people and moderate their exchange. It’s community organisers everywhere who want to make a difference.

We are looking for people like you who want to start a new community newsroom. Building the software is part of a bigger educational project. As a community we share questions and solutions to the problems we run into when building our organisations and projects.

So please get in touch with the beabee project lead Julia Hildebrand to join us.

We started to program our software in January 2021. Please sign up to our slack community and you will always stay in the loop of what we build next. It will also be possible soon to be one of the first people to test the software and share your feedback.

Or just get in touch with our project lead Julia Hildebrand for a demo of the current version of the software.

If you are a developer you might also be interested in taking a look at our github repository here.

beabee ist a joint project by CORRECTIV, The Bristol Cable, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Vereniging Veronica. We are looking for more partners and team members, so please just get in touch if you are interested in getting involved. Meet the Team here.

Our network

beabee is a joint project of journalism organisations across Europe with a shared goal:

Bring community journalism to every town in Europe.