853 aims to provide public interest journalism for the borough of Greenwich and the wider SE London area.
It started as a personal blog in 2008, but its focus evolved when founder Darryl Chamberlain attended a Greenwich Council meeting and was horrified at the treatment of a member of the public who had come to speak about a petition. He realised that no reporter was covering the meeting, and realised there was a yawning gap to be filled.
The site reports on issues that are ignored or missed by traditional outlets, holding decision-makers to account, mainly in Greenwich, but occasionally in Lewisham or Bexley where the story will be of wider interest. It has broken stories of both local and London-wide interest: public transport cuts, councillors saying one thing and doing another, curious funding decisions, controversial planning decisions, and what council allies are really up to.
It has one part-time editor/reporter – Darryl – who is paid by site readers under a Patreon scheme. His work is supplemented by material Local Democracy Reporter Tom Bull and occasional pieces from Mercury Man, a revival of a column that was once a fixture of the local press.
The site has reached a natural ceiling in terms of what one person is able to provide. Flyover Media aims to raise funds to pay new writers expand the site’s coverage: to give better coverage of neighbouring Lewisham, and to commission more stories and features.