Bremen/Hamburg/leibzig, 15.03.2023. Local news has a hard time: local newspapers are under economic pressure and commercial social media platforms have proven to be less suitable for local news. The news and information app molo.news in Bremen, on the other hand, provides local information via smartphone. The development of the app was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Researchers from the Universities of Bremen and Leipzig and the Leibniz Institute for Media Research │ Hans-Bredow-Institut in Hamburg are now investigating how the platform can be made available nationwide. The BMBF is supporting the project over a period of three years until the end of February 2026 as part of the VIP+ programme ("Validation of the Technological and Societal Innovation Potential of Scientific Research").
Customised News from Media Companies, Associations or Educational Institutions
molo.news is a free local news and events platform that can be used through an app for iOS and Android. In addition to the content of various regional media outlets, users can also find news and events from other institutions and collectives, such as educational institutions, local associations, social movements or organisers of cultural events. In the app's newsfeed and event calendar, users can have the information displayed according to their own interests, without ending up in so-called filter bubbles. molo.news is data-saving and does not collect any information from users. The app associated with the platform was developed jointly by three research institutions between 2017 and 2019: the Leibniz Institute for Media Research │ Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI), the Institute for Information Management Bremen (ifib) and the Center for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI) at the University of Bremen. A special feature was the co-creation approach: the platform was developed together with journalists, members of associations, initiatives and public institutions.
Testing in six German cities
"After the successful launch of a test distribution of molo.news in Bremen and the surrounding area - with more than 2,700 users - it will now be tested how the platform can be further developed to enable a nationwide launch," says project leader Professor Andreas Hepp (ZeMKI, University of Bremen). Over the next three years, Professor Andreas Hepp, Professor Christian Pentzold (University of Leipzig) and Professor Wiebke Loosen (Leibniz Institute for Media Research │ Hans-Bredow-Institut in Hamburg) will research how the concept of molo.news can be transferred to other regions. Therefore, they will test and revise the platform, which was developed especially for Bremen, in six large, medium-sized and small German cities. "Leipzig, with its diverse civil society and media landscape, is an ideal place to try out the molo.news offering," explains Christian Pentzold. The project also aims to develop a sustainable business model for the long-term operation of the platform. It also validates income opportunities for freelance journalists. The project is supported by various media organisations and experts in public interest journalism.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Hepp
Zentrum für Medien-, Kommunikations- und Informationsforschung (ZeMKI)
Tel.: +49 0421 21 86 76 20