Southport Reporter, an online newspaper started by Patrick Trollope, is seen as the UK's first online-only regional newspaper. It was quickly recognized by the National Union of Journalists as well as other media groups, authorities and organizations as a newspaper. This recognition was due to the fact it was only run by certificated professional journalists (often the journalist held NUJ or IFJ ID/certification). As a result they had to follow and run under the rules of the UK Press Complaints Commission's Code of Practice and the NUJ Code of Conduct.
The idea started when Patrick Trollope decided to use unpublished news as a single page on Formby Online over 1998 and 1999. By 1999 it had grown into a multi-page section and the name was by then being developed by Patrick Trollope. In 1999 the pages were moved fully by Patrick Trollope onto PCBT Photography, his business website. The interest shown in the multi-page section during 1999 helped the site develop quicker than expected and made it hard to keep the bandwidth down. The result was that the pages had to move yet again to a new temporary host location in 2000 on a newly-launched site called SGB
The increase of visitors in 2000 helped the Southport Reporter to become more established and led to the name being registered both as a URL and as trademark. By 2001 the site became fully established as an independently hosted site known as SouthportReporter.com. As the site became bigger it also began to be published under the names Mersey Reporter and Liverpool Reporter. By April 2002 Southport Reporter, was starting to become known as Southport & Mersey Reporter and had started covering events as far as Manchester, when the paper covered the Manchester Comonwelth Games, working on an international leavel. By April 2002 Southport Reporter, was starting to become known as Southport & Mersey Reporter and had started covering events as far as Manchester, when the paper covered the Manchester Commonwealth Games, working on an international level By 2007 the paper was being used as a news resource for many international media groups, like HULIQ. In 2008 the paper started to run the a link with a Limited Company, called PBT Media Relations Ltd.