The small online outlet from the town of Durrës successfully implemented its business plan – developed locally relevant content, improved its technology base, and increased traffic and revenues.
“The project had effects on two levels – social and business,” Stela Likmeta, project coordinator and journalist at DurrësLajm, said. On a social level, as she pointed out, they “increased the number of online events and run stories about specific community-based issues. And on a business level we started broadcasting our program with higher quality.”
Their twofold approach resulted in audience growth and rise in advertising revenue, on one hand, and increased social awareness and improved reputation, on another hand. In the course of the project DurrësLajm expanded the coverage of rural areas which has led to a significant increase in readership. Also, due attention was dedicated to building and managing social media networks.
“Thanks to the constant interaction with our audience we have increased the number of followers on social networks,” Likmeta said, adding that the outlet has become a factor in Durrës. “We have created articles with public impact. The treatment of some key community issues by our journalists has led to concrete solutions provided by local authorities in a very short time.”
As a result of the sophisticated equipment bought with the grant and the various training provided by the Thomson Foundation DurrësLajm staff became more versatile in making video articles and learned new editorial techniques.
The positive trend reflected on the advertisement revenue also. “Interests of private businesses to promote their activity with sponsored articles has increased. Even local authorities turned to us for announcements,” Likmeta said.
DurrësLajm converted to an online only portal at the end of 2012, following a prior successful run as a printed newspaper since 2008 under the name of Gazeta Dyrrah. It covers mainly Durrës area and its surrounding area.
The portal is one of the 8 outlets from Albania that are part of the Media for All project which is funded by the UK Government and implemented by the British Council, Thomson Foundation, BIRN and INTRAC in all Western Balkans countries.