DUBLIN - Towards the end of last year, one of the largest media companies in Ireland shut its edition covering Fingal in the north of Dublin. We are piloting the expansion of our coverage from Dublin's centre northwards to step up and help serve these communities, shaping our coverage around what they say they need during active outreach.
Dublin Inquirer is piloting the addition of coverage of Fingal in north Dublin to our stories at Dublin Inquirer. The coverage – at least three stories a week – will focus on local government and community news, and deeply reported public-interest pieces.
For the duration of the pilot, they are adding coverage from one full-time Fingal reporter, and two freelance part-time Fingal reporters, one of whom will cover “immigrant life” in the county.
Dublin Inquirer is also setting up a Fingal local news email newsletter. And plan to run three town hall meetings within the area to guide coverage, as the project develops. We are also bringing on as a test a part-time marketing and revenue generation consultant to help us press to make this expansion sustainable, after the grant has ended.
They hope to serve the roughly 330,000 residents of Fingal County Council, the fastest growing county in the country, census data suggests. Among those residents, we hope to prioritise stories that surface the voices of those who aren’t heard from as often, particularly immigrants and lower-income residents.
Broadly, the residents of the Fingal County Council area will benefit from this project. Preliminary census data for 2022 suggests that it is the fastest growing county in the country, with about 330,000 residents who are currently without local news.
Within that pool, though, we will also continue – as we do with our city coverage – to prioritise stories that surface the voices of those who aren’t heard from as often: renters, immigrants, lower-income residents. We will make sure that we proactively seek out readers from these potential groups, when organising the three town halls that we plan.
At the time of the 2016 census, Fingal had the largest number of “non-Irish nationals” in the country after Dublin city, with 46,909 people. Dublin Inquirer already has an “immigrant life” beat, centered on stories of interest to immigrants and written for them as the imagined readers – rather than a beat explaining immigrants to non-immigrants, with an imagined white Irish reader, as is often the case. As part of this project, we will be able to expand the people and coverage area as part of this beat.
Goals of the project
We hope that our project will lead to better-informed residents of Fingal and greater accountability of local government officials and local councillors. It will mean stories being told that wouldn’t otherwise be told, and seed sustainable coverage for an underserved part of County Dublin.
More concretely, we aim to publish at least three public-interest stories a week from Fingal. We hope that some of our stories will be picked up by national media, elevating issues that would otherwise be overlooked.
We also hope to convince at least 450 people in Fingal to subscribe to ensure that the coverage continues and grows beyond the timeline of the pilot. We believe that pursuing a reader-funded model ensures that our coverage stays focused on serving our readers, responsive to their needs and criticisms.
About the media outlet
Dublin Inquirer is an independent publication currently covering Dublin city. We are dedicated to quality public-interest local journalism. We cover, in particular, housing and homelessness, transport, immigrant life and the immigration system, climate and environment, local government, planning and urbanism, arts and culture and food. It was founded in June 2015 and is mostly (save for specific project grants) funded by reader subscriptions. We currently have three full-time staff, one part-time distribution and admin manager, and three regular freelancers.
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