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The announcements edition
Everything that's going on at Local Authority Towers
Editor’s note: Today’s newsletter is an unusual one. There’s no big news here I’m afraid, but instead, we have several announcements regarding Local Authority and other associated things. We could have drip-fed these into the regular editions, but there’s so much we need to share that we thought we’d just blast everything out at once and get it over with. As ever, thanks for reading Local Authority, and do stick around for a nice little offer near the end.
Join us for Medway Question Time
Following on from the success of our debate ahead of the local elections, we’re moving forward on a series of live events. This is only possible thanks to our generous crowdfunding supporters, and we are incredibly grateful to them.
Our first event will be Medway Question Time. It’s a new way of bringing local democracy to local people, allowing them to ask questions to a panel of Medway's decision-makers and political figures.
Any similarity to a popular BBC tv show with a similar name is entirely coincidental...
Medway Question Time will take place quarterly around Medway, but we’re at our old stomping ground of MidKent College on July 19 for this first event.
Our panel for this edition consists of:
Vince Maple, Leader of Medway Council
Elizabeth Turpin, Deputy Leader of Medway Conservative Group
Cat Jamieson, Medway Green Party
Simon Cook, Chair of Medway Place Board
Ruby Stokes, Chair of Medway Youth Council
(Panel confirmed at time of publication but subject to change ahead of the event)
Tickets to Medway Question Time are free, though you can add an optional donation to help us cover the event's costs.
When booking a ticket, you'll be able to submit a question that could be put to the panel on the night. While we can't guarantee your question will be asked, we'll try to select as wide a selection as possible ahead of the event.
We’re officially awards finalists
We touched upon this in Friday’s edition, but now we’ve come down to earth a little bit, we can reflect more fully.
Last week, Local Authority was selected as a finalist in two categories at the Kent Press & Broadcast Awards. It still seems slightly surreal to be recognised in such a way. We’ve been doing a version of this in one form or another for about a decade now, from social media origins to blogging, before settling into this version in 2021.
We are a tiny operation. Two people run this project, and it isn’t a full-time job for either of us. So to be recognised as one of the four best news websites in Kent in the Kent News Website of the Year category is pretty thrilling.
We’re up against some big hitters too: KentOnline and ITV Meridian are both up for the same award, which is some surreal company to be in.
Beyond that, our very own Steven Keevil is nominated for Kent Columnist of the Year, which goes to show what can happen when you ponder how a supervillain would build a lair in Medway or you stare deeply into the Chatham pocket.
The awards ceremony to pick the final winners is coming up in a few weeks, and we’re very much looking forward to it.
Following our recent crowdfunding and the silly number of rewards we promised people, we’re starting to have a lot of merch lying around Local Authority Towers.
Some people got in touch during the crowdfunding and asked if we’d also be selling items individually down the line, and today we can say, yes we are, please give us your money.
We’ve launched a Medwayish merch store on Big Cartel, selling all kinds of Medway-related items from prints to totes to mugs and more. Please buy some so it isn’t filling up our relatively small storage cupboard.
Why Medwayish, you ask. Why not, we say. Medwayish is the name of the company we created to publish Local Authority and to do other interesting Medway things, and it amused us, so here we are.
All of our prints are currently available, while some of the bigger items are scheduled to arrive in July. All profits raised from merch go directly back into improving our journalism, so you can feel like you’re doing something good while also buying a poster of MechaWaghorn facing down Godzilla at Rochester Castle.
We’ll also have a stall at the Medway Gaming Festival this weekend at Chatham Dockyard, where we’ll be selling some bits and promoting Local Authority, so please come along and say hi if you find yourself there.
It’s been a few weeks since our crowdfunding round successfully finished, so a quick update on where we’re at with that.
As above, we’ve got our first event coming up next month as a result, which is very cool. We’re also looking at equipment that we need, with a particular focus on some kind of video camera and something that will allow us to properly record audio. In terms of our professional development, we’re looking at what options are open to us and hope to have something lined up by the autumn.
Finally, our funding raised enough to allow us to commission unique Medway stories that otherwise wouldn’t get covered. We are aiming to commission the first of these in the next few weeks, and also intend to open up a process for writers to pitch stories they are interested in writing, but more on that soon.
Finally, if you’re one of the generous people that supported us, we’re pulling together everything for your rewards now. We’re aiming to start getting some rewards out in the next week, while some will take a little longer as we’re still waiting for some items to be produced.
Some of you are also eligible for a discount in the merch store as part of your crowdfunding tier. We’ll get these discount codes out to you in the next day or so, so if you contributed £15 or more to our crowdfunding, maybe hold off on ordering until then unless you really want to give us some extra money.
Share Local Authority, get a paid subscription
We have a new referral system for Local Authority. You can earn a free paid subscription for referring new readers to Local Authority. Refer 5 new readers, and you’ll get one month free, refer 10 and you’ll get three months, and refer 20 and you’ll get six months.
You can do this in a couple of ways. You can directly refer your friends with your own referral link using the button below:
Alternatively, anytime you use any share button in our posts, any new subscribers that reached us using your share will count toward your total.
This is all a bit new for us, as it’s something Substack only added to the platform last week, but we’re giving it a go. Substack has published an FAQ on how it all works here. If you aren’t fussed about this sort of thing, don’t worry, but please tell your friends about us anyway!
The offer at the end
If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for making it through this many announcements and plugs. We don’t want to do this kind of post often, but there was so much stuff to cover this week that we didn’t have much choice.
We’ll be back with new content for our paid supporters on Wednesday, and we’ve got some great stories and interviews lined up for the coming weeks.
If you enjoy what we do, and would like to receive the full Local Authority experience at a discounted price, the link below will give you 20% off our usual price for a full year.
Our paid supporters receive three or four editions of Local Authority every week and are supporting a new way of producing independent journalism in Medway, free of the clickbait and ad-covered websites that seem to have become the standard.
As always, if you’d like to receive the paid editions of Local Authority but aren’t currently in a position where you can do so, just hit reply or email email@example.com and we’ll give you the paid version for free, no questions asked.
We’ll be back again on Wednesday for paid supporters and our regular free edition will be along on Friday.
Thanks again for reading, and all of your support so far.
Ed and Steven