Local news is having a hard time. Local newspapers are under financial pressure, while commercial social media platforms have proven to be unsuitable for local news. Despite these challenges, the molo.news app has been sending local news and information to people’s smartphones in Bremen. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) provided funding for developing the app. Researchers from the University of Bremen, Leipzig University, 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+ program.
Customized News from Media Houses, Clubs, or Educational Institutions
molo.news is a free local news and events platform that can be accessed via an app for iOS and Android. In addition to the content produced by various regional media houses, users can also find news and events from other institutions and collectives, such as educational institutions, local associations, social movements, and cultural organizations. In the app’s news feed and event calendar, users can view information tailored to their own interests without ending up in filter bubbles. molo.news is data-saving and does not collect any information from users. The app belonging to the platform was jointly developed between 2017 and 2019 by three research institutions: the Leibniz Institute for Media Research │ Hans-Bredow-Institut (HBI), the Institute for Information Management Bremen (ifib), and the Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI) at the University of Bremen. The co-creation approach played a particularly noteworthy role, as the platform was set up in collaboration with journalists, members of clubs, initiatives, and public institutions.
Testing in Six German Cities
“Following the successful start to the test run of molo.news in Bremen and the surrounding area, comprising over 2,700 users, the aim now is to test how the platform can be further developed to enable a nationwide launch,” says project leader Professor Andreas Hepp (ZeMKI, University of Bremen). Working with Professor Christian Pentzold (Leipzig University) and Professor Wiebke Loosen (Leibniz Institute for Media Research │ Hans-Bredow-Institut in Hamburg), Professor Hepp will spend the next three years researching how the concept of molo.news can be replicated in other regions. The platform, which was specially developed for Bremen, is being tested and revised in six German cities of varying sizes. “With its diverse civil society and media landscape, Leipzig is an ideal place to try out the molo.news service,” explains Professor Pentzold. The project also aims to develop a sustainable business model for the long-term operation of the platform. Opportunities for freelance journalists to earn money on the platform are also being validated. The project is supported by various media organizations and experts for journalism oriented towards the common good.
Professor Andreas Hepp
Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research (ZeMKI)
University of Bremen
Tel.: +49 0421 218-67620