Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Lucy Mazhari’s review of a production of Gormenghast was the first article to be published – on 25 September 2009

10 things you (probably) didn’t know about HOT

Founding member of HOT, Erica Smith, shares some HOT gossip about the surprisingly long-lived Hastings Online Times.

1: We’ve been around a long time!
HOT was originally the twinkle in the eye of St Leonards resident Rachel Lever. The very first article was a review of Stables Youth Theatre’s production of Gormenghast written by Lucy Mazhari published on 25 September 2009. This means HOT will be 15 years old this autumn!
HOT has always been an independent magazine for news, views and features about Hastings and St Leonards. It was created because we, local citizens, think Hastings and St Leonards are very special towns and they deserve to be celebrated. If you feel like that too, then you are welcome to join us and write articles about the town(s) that you live in and love.

Our AGM is on the ground floor of the accessible Clifton Centre. The entrance is opposite the north platform of St Leonards Warrior Square station.

2: Our AGM is on Tuesday 30 April
Our AGM will be held from 6–7pm at the Clifton Centre in Stainsby Street. From 7pm, we are inviting people who are interested in learning how to write for HOT and how to add events and courses to our HOT calendars to join us for a short training session. Then we’ll go to a nearby pub. It’s a free event, and we’d love to meet and train up some more HOT contributors – but as capacity is very limited, please book via Eventbrite if you want to attend. HOT is currently a Community Interest Company, though we are in the process of applying to become a charity.

3: HOT is not HIP!
Some people think HOT and HIP are the same thing, and whilst we co-exist happily together, we are entirely independent of each other. Hastings Online Times was set up as an online publication to provide a sustainable online platform for local news coverage from local residents. Hastings Independent Press was set up in 2014, five years after HOT, as a printed newspaper. Sometimes we share articles, but we are different organisations.

4: You can subscribe to get a FREE twice-a-week digest of the latest articles
On the right hand side of the header bar is a SUBSCRIBE box. If you fill in your email address and hit the “Join Now” button, you’ll receive an email digest of the most recent stories on every Wednesday and Sunday night at 10pm.
Sometimes people ask us why articles are out of date by the time they read the digest. This is because articles are published throughout the week and are automatically shared to our Facebook and X social media streams. Reading the digest is a bit like picking up a weekly newspaper in a cafe – the stories and events covered may have already happened by the time that you read it – but it is a handy way to keep up to date with what has happened and is happening in your home town.

5: We have an online calendar of local events and have just launched a new calendar for local courses from wood engraving to yoga – and you are welcome to add your own events and courses.
We encourage local people to share information about events and courses that they care about – you don’t need to be the promoter or course practitioner to do this – but it is a free way of promoting any local events and courses that you support. You need to have a username and password for the HOT website which we will provide if you contact us. It is a WordPress-based site and adding events is a simple process. If you register for our training session at 7pm on Tuesday 30 April we will show you how to add events and courses.

6: If you like HOT, it is easy to make a DONATION to support us – or you can support us by ADVERTISING your business or event – or VOLUNTEER to become a HOT citizen journalist or proofreader
Because HOT is a website and not a printed newspaper, our overheads are not great – but we really appreciate the small donations that some of our regular readers make which helps us pay for our website upkeep and other ongoing costs like meeting room hire – and to buy pizzas for the AGM. You can easily make a one-off donation – or a small monthly donation – via PayPal.
Similarly, we have a small number of advertisements in the right hand column of all our web pages. You can take out an advertisement for a week or two to help promote an event – or you can take out an advertisement for a year. Whatever the period, costs are modest. All advertisements click through to your website or other chosen link. Find out more here.
We are also delighted to take on new writers for HOT and can show you how to upload your articles to the WordPress web interface. It’s not hard to do.
Our one rule is that contributors don’t publish their own articles – this is to make sure that someone else has read the content and agrees that it is not inaccurate or offensive. It is a simple ‘peer review’ system – we read over and publish each other’s articles. We would also really appreciate more volunteer ‘proofreaders’ to look over articles and publish them. Please contact us to find out more – or book to attend the training session on Tuesday 30 April.

7: HOT has an incredibly useful online SEARCH facility
You see that wandering guitarist on the right hand end of the HOT masthead? If you type in the window where it says “HOT Search” and hit return, you’ll get a list of all the articles ever published on HOT which relate to the word or phrase you’ve been searching for. This is an incredibly useful resource for local historians and anyone who wants to find out about something that happened in the Hastings area since 2009.

8: Articles about Hastings Pier are our most popular features
Over the last year, five out of our ten most read articles are about Hastings Pier! Lauris’ article from last summer about the jellyfish invasion has also been very popular. There’s also a popular one from 2011 about dog poo that I wrote.

9: HOT is a member of IMPRESS and follows the IMPRESS journalistic standards code
All HOT contributors are volunteers, but we follow a professional code of journalistic practice to ensure our articles are trustworthy and accurate. We believe that ethical journalism is a cornerstone of a well-informed and connected society. Impress is a champion for news that can be trusted. It makes sure news providers publish with integrity.
HOT rarely has a complaint made to us by our readers. On the handful of occasions when we have received a complaint, we have managed to respond to the concerns and have never had to involve IMPRESS in our complaints procedure. You can read the IMPRESS code here.

10: Our collaged masthead was created for HOT by the marvellous Martin O’Neill when we launched Hastings Online Times.
We’d like to thank him again for his fabulous artwork which still conveys the atmosphere of Hastings and St Leonards.

If you’re enjoying HOT and would like us to continue providing fair and balanced reporting on local matters please consider making a donation. Click here to open our PayPal donation link. Thank you for your continued support!

Posted 18:11 Wednesday, Apr 10, 2024 In: The HOT Planet

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