Our journey so far: Headline stats and top stories of 2023

Plus: our ambitious plans, new members and what people have said about The Gazette.

Photo of fireworks by Marjan

Happy New Year! As we say goodbye to 2023 in this special edition of The Newsroom, we thought it would be a great idea to explore our journey so far – the ups and downs, our headline statistics, and what to expect from us over the next year.

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has helped us since we launched in March. It has been an exciting year. For those who became paid members, you have allowed us to commission new and talented writers – and we are now on track to hire our first part-time staff member.

Thank you to anyone who sent us tips and leads for stories. We hope to retain your trust moving forward and build on it so anyone can come forward with new information.

Here is our journey so far. In 2023, we: 

  • Registered as a co-operative society in January. Anyone in the local community can join as a member and become a co-owner of The Gazette.
  • Launched in March, with around 30 people attending our launch event and showcase at James Bistro on East Bond Street.
  • Raised £9,556.42 in grant funding.
  • Gained 56 members.
  • Had 377 people subscribe to our free newsletter, Inside Leicester.
  • Published 52 posts, including feature-length original journalism and newsletters.
  • Reached 16,000 unique readers on the website.
  • Gained 1,064 people followers across all social media platforms.
  • Worked with 21 volunteers.
  • Brought on three work experience reporters.
  • Hired a paid intern reporter starting mid-2024.
  • Ran our first board of director elections.
  • Commissioned and paid nine writers, from established freelance journalists to budding local writers.
  • Refreshed our website and newsletter offering.
  • Issued one minor correction in nine months (we admit our mistakes!) and received zero editorial complaints – demonstrating our commitment to high-quality journalism.
  • Joined Impress, the independent press regulator, and formed partnerships with Co-ops UK and the Independent Media Association.
  • Featured our work in 30 publications – including an interview with the BBC about why the team started The Gazette.
  • Covered the council and mayoral elections in May.
  • Distributed two major callouts to aid our investigations.
  • Partnered with national organisations like the Public Interest News Foundation and Hacked Off on media reform.

What could have worked better was that we tried to run human rights and media literacy workshops over the summer. Due to a low uptake, we ended the programme early. We will experiment with events over the next 12-18 months to see what works. We also tried to run an annual reader 'check-in', intended to be the first comprehensive survey of our readership. However, poor timing and promotion also meant minimal engagement. We will attempt it again in 2024 – but we will work on getting people involved.

Our top investigations and stories were...

The family who endured racist abuse inside their own home
And their journey for justice.
Revealed: Leicester City FC’s gambling ties after Luke Ashton’s death
An investigative report by James Turrell sheds light on the intersection of football and gambling, raising crucial questions about responsibility and transparency in the industry.
Quarter of non-emergency 101 calls unanswered
Exclusive: Just over a quarter of calls to the police non-emergency number went unanswered last year, figures obtained by The Gazette show.
Local audit crisis deepens after council bankruptcy warning
Urgent reforms are needed for local authority audits as Leicester City Council faces financial turmoil, risking bankruptcy.
The Musical Legacy of Ruth Miller
Musician and writer Nancy Dawkins walks us through Ruth Miller’s extraordinary musical life after her recent passing.
Hold Tight Raver: A spotlight on the forgotten city
Leicester’s rave scene was all the things that Leicester is today: multicultural, community driven, innovative, and unfortunately overlooked.
From spice roots to modern routes: Revisiting Leicester’s diverse legacy
This South Asian Heritage Month, Tiyanna Mistry explores community, resilience, and celebration in local south Asian communities.
Full list of Labour councillors deselected in Leicester
The Labour Party has ‘purged’ 19 councillors in Leicester ahead of this year’s May local elections in a bid to root out corruption.
How one resident faced the sudden onslaught of floodwaters
In June, Leicester saw the impact of the climate crisis after intense flash floodings affected homes, roads, and businesses.
Explore Leicester Labour’s decline – Timeline
Everything you need to know about the events that led to the biggest political upset in over a decade.

In 2024, we have some ambitious plans. We hope to become an employer, but more importantly, we will extensively cover the general election and launch our print edition. These are massive projects – and we need all the help we can get. If you want to volunteer a couple of hours a week in any capacity, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

Here's what a couple of our members had to say about The Gazette in 2023:

"I'm full of admiration for the team behind The Gazette. They have rapidly become an important voice for Leicester, helping fill the gap in local media” – Geoff Rowe, founder, Leicester Comedy Festival
"The Gazette's co-operative, not-for-profit model is breaking new ground and working to fill the gap left by the decline of traditional media” – Nick Carter, ex-Leicester Mercury editor

And, finally, a warm welcome to Shyam Popat, Tim Neff and Wendy Murphy, who joined us in December.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2024.

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