Local Authority is an independent Medway newsletter covering local news, politics, culture, and the weirder side of our towns.
We cover all of the important news from our towns, as well as providing event guides, local planning reports, essays on a range of issues, and lengthy sit-down interviews with Medway figures.
We've come a long way since we launched in 2021, but now we want to take the next step.
At a time when local news is in decline, we are trying to find a model that can support high-quality local journalism to fill the gap that has been abandoned by the traditional press.
This project started as a hobby for us, following on from our previous work as citizen journalists and local bloggers. Over time, the project has evolved into a wider Medway news project, which now publishes three editions of Local Authority every week.
We are still trying to find a sustainable business model for this project. Currently, all of our income is generated from a small number of generous paid supporters. This gives us enough income to cover the core costs of the project, but currently, we still take no form of salary from running Local Authority.
Unfortunately, this means we aren't currently in a position to fund some things we'd like to do to help take Local Authority to the next level.
This is why we are asking for your support.
In the first instance, we will use the funds raised from this project to fund the following:
- An initial programme of four live events to increase democratic participation in Medway. Our aim is to create and organise something akin to a 'Medway Question Time'. This would see us hold live events across all parts of Medway where local residents can engage and directly ask questions to local representatives and other public figures. We already have various groups committed to taking part in these events. Funds raised here will be used to cover the core logistical costs needed for the events like room hire and equipment rental.
- Time for us to dig deeper and advance our professional development. By funding us, you will help enable us to delve deeper and investigate some of the bigger stories affecting the Medway Towns. We will also be able to undertake some professional development. We have no background in journalism, so both of us and Local Authority as a whole would benefit from us taking part in professional training courses relevant to improving our local journalism.
- Better equipment to do what we do. Up until now, Local Authority has been put together using only our laptops and our phones. But as we grow and take Local Authority more into the community to cover events on the ground and talk to more people in person, these aren't really cutting it. We would like to fund some basic equipment including a video camera of appropriate quality and audio equipment to record interviews and live events.
Any funds left after we've done the above, or any income raised by exceeding the crowdfunding target, will be used for:
- Commissioning unique Medway stories that we don't have the capacity to undertake. As we've set out, we aren't trained journalists. This means there are times when stories are brought to us that are worth covering, but we don't have the skills or ability to do so. We would like to commission in-depth investigative pieces by other journalists and writers that cover the kind of stories in our towns that no one else does.
Of course, we aren't just asking you to give us money for nothing in return.
We have a range of rewards available at different levels for those who help us reach our target. You will receive rewards from both the level you support at and all lower tiers, so you don't miss out on anything.
Our rewards include:
Limited edition A4 'Vote Lonely Hearts Bear' print (frame not included) by local artist Ben Cameron:
Limited edition A3 poster (frame not included) by local artist Nick Ashton commemorating the time MechaWaghorn battled Godzilla at Rochester Castle:
Limited edition tote bag (final bag colour may vary) by local artist Designed by Esther:
Exclusive 'not to be stored in the Chatham pocket' stickers by local artist Natalie Tyler:
Exclusive 'The Usual Subjects' mug (mockup, final product may vary) designed by local illustrator Mark Barnes, featuring a lineup of five familiar Medway characters.
There are lots of other awesome items currently being developed too, and we'll update this page when we have more to share.
If your reward includes a paid subscription to Local Authority, and you are already a subscriber, we will contact you with the option of adding your reward to your current subscription or gifting it to somebody else.
All reward tiers include UK postage (please add £5 to any overseas donations for delivery), and if you're in Medway, there's a chance Ed and/or Steven will deliver your rewards personally.
If you want to contribute more than once or get a reward from a higher tier, we'll add all of your donations together throughout the campaign so you get the appropriate reward for the amount you donated at the end.
We aim to ship all rewards by the end of August 2023.
Local Authority is an independent Medway newsletter set up in 2021. Every Friday, we publish a free weekly newsletter covering local news, politics, culture, and more in Medway that is now read by over 2,000 people.
We also publish two further editions each week for paid supporters. These include more in-depth stories and investigations, event guides, planning reports, and long-read one-on-one interviews with significant Medway figures.
Local Authority is the project of Ed Jennings and Steven Keevil, both of whom were involved in local politics before becoming disillusioned and writing about it instead. They have been covering the goings on at Medway Council for a decade now, starting as citizen journalists tweeting out proceedings before moving to blogging, and finally setting up the Local Authority newsletter.
In recent months, we have broken stories like how much a local MP has claimed for a second home, developers blocking children from using new play areas, and how a music festival continued to sell tickets despite not being granted a licence.
We've done deeper dives into how few crimes are solved in Medway, the impact upcoming voter ID requirements are likely to have on our democracy, as well as in-depth interviews with figures like Medway Council leader Alan Jarrett.