“For his ability to offer a completely new target group generous digital journalism, this year’s winner has created a societally important community,” read a statement by the association at its annual media awards gala in Sweden, held online due to the pandemic.
“Thanks to his strong relationship with users, the recipient of the Swedish Magazine Publishers Association’s Grand Award been able to successfully trial new approaches and drive his business forward. With great courage and an infectious personal enthusiasm, our prize winner has taken his idea from a small newsletter to an international level and expansion,” it continued.
The Swedish Magazine Publishers Association’s Grand Award is handed out annually to a person or company, handpicked by the jury, who has made significant contributions to the Swedish newspaper and magazine industry.
James Savage founded The Local with Paul Rapacioli in Stockholm in 2004. Today, its journalists write for almost 50,000 paying members of its news sites in nine European countries: Austria, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
“I don’t think anyone dreamed that you could make a profitable business catering to the needs of foreigners living in European countries. Our audience was ignored by established media groups and by decision-makers. We’ve shown that this audience is ready to pay for a publication that helps them make sense of their new countries, and I think we’ve enriched the media landscape in the process,” said James Savage.
Since launching a membership model in 2018, The Local has deepened its relationship with readers and redoubled its efforts to serve as the primary source of essential European news in English for foreign residents and other internationally-minded readers. In the first year of its membership programme The Local reached 8,000 members. This number rose to 13,000 in 2019 and 34,000 at the end of last year.
Membership revenue has enabled The Local to reinvest in its news coverage, including introducing new editorial ventures, and new reporters and columnists. This will continue in 2022 as The Local seeks to further deepen its engagement with readers.
Here’s the full list of all the winners of the Swedish Magazine Publishers Association’s 2021 awards.