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#Tip: Remember these diverse tips for getting local stories

With the wealth of information and data at our fingertips in 2013, ways to source local stories go beyond knowing your beat and developing contacts. These two are both included in this list of “strategies” collected by Stephanie Miles at hyperlocal research site Street Fight, but only after she lists some inventive digital options for discovering more about a community.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.
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#Tip: Lessons in successfully switching from print to digital

May 28th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
Image by Adikos on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by Adikos on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

More and more publications are making the jump from print to digital and digital-first has become a mantra for a number of organisations, from international media houses to hyperlocal magazines. Here are some lessons learned by a college newspaper on making that switch.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

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#Tip: Try these tips to boost your hyperlocal Facebook page

By owenwbrown on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

By owenwbrown on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Pictures. Personality. Timeliness. Tips and tools for building online communities can sometimes seem rather general but blogger and journalist Ed Walker decided to put them all into practice for his hyperlocal site Blog Preston.

See how it worked for him and the detailed highlights of what made his month long campaign a success in this blog post.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

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#Tip of the day for journalists – Getting the community involved

January 16th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
Image by James Cridland on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Image by James Cridland on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Managing director of Talk About Local Sarah Hartley shares some of her own tips, and gathers opinion for those behind hyperlocal sites, on how local news sites can get the community involved in editorial.

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at Journalism.co.uk email us using this link.

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#GEN2012: Hyperlocal and ‘mobile interactive journalism’ in Hamburg

June 1st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Local media

An interesting project in local reporting by Abendblatt in Hamburg was outlined by Felix Bellinger, managing director of mobile & apps at Axel Springer, at the News World Summit in Paris today.

The project, called Mein Quartier (My Part of Town) saw on-the-ground reporters – who were freelancers appointed based on their “matching” to the district – filing stories from seven city districts in a bid to increase “local insight and intensify local coverage”.

Mein Quartier, which is available to access via an iPhone app, started as a pilot project for Abendblatt, but this year it is being developed into a “large scale district campaign” and an “integral part of news reporting” for the title.

We found the project very successful in terms of hits and feedback and in terms of business.

He added that as well as reaching a new target group the project helped attract no advertisers.

Building up local website and mobile fields means creating new space for advertisers.

The newspaper is now moving into the “next phase”, he told the conference, which will see reporting from all 104 districts of Hamburg. And while the pilot project engaged 25 reporters on the ground, the expansion will see the entire editorial staff of Abendblatt reporting from the districts.

The best thing to worship a project is to shift it to editorial and say ‘this is everyday life now, not a project anymore’

As a result the district coverage falls within its mainstream regional content, which is paid-for as part of Abendblatt’s freemium model. During the pilot the project was free to view.

Development is currently underway to create space on the website for each of the 104 districts. Work is also underway to develop the mobile app to enable it to map each district.

There are also plans to publish a book by the end of this year featuring all the stories that have been published about Hamburg’s districts.

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NESTA director ‘very pleased’ with number of applications to hyperlocal project

May 31st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Mobile

A hyperlocal initiative from the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) has seen over 165 applications made for its pot of £500,000 in seed funding. Applicants face stiff competition as only 10 will receive the money and guidance from the charity and its partners.

The Destination Local project aims to stimulate the hyperlocal media sector with innovation in mobile and location technologies. As Journalism.co.uk reported last month the charity produced a 15,000 word report on its vision for the future of hyperlocal media in the UK. The report highlighted the penetration of GPS capable smartphones as a key innovation opportunity for hyperlocals.

NESTA say it is encouraged by the number of applications received for the project. Director of creative economy programmes Jon Kingsbury told Journalism.co.uk:

We are never really sure (of the the level of interest) when we have a call for funding but I’m really pleased with the number of applications. It demonstrates that there’s some demand and willingness in hyperlocal to be innovative and sustainable.

He said he is also pleased by the range of applications they have received:

What we are looking at is a broad mix of hyperlocal services. There is the provision of news and information but also other ways of benefiting communities with mobile and local technology such as local service provision.

One of the applicants, Simon Perry of VentnorBlog, says the competition has created a lot of interest among hyperlocals:

It has stimulated a lot of thought, people had to think a lot when putting their bids in. I know when we were going through ideas we went through various iterations before we decided on the one for our bid. I think it has really stimulated the market just by having the competition. It’s got people thinking ‘ok, what are we going to do with mobile?’

NESTA have produced a YouTube playlist of all the applicants’s pitches for the project and have produced a map showing where all these have come from:

[iframe src="https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?viz=MAP&q=select+col0+from+1r2Z9WBXoXuhB2cDCc2hcO3zGqUj2uubbUHMysOQ&h=false&lat=54.1045584605061&lng=-3.0414486500000066&z=6&t=1&l=col0" width="540" height="450"]

 

The Destination Local judging panel have until 28 June 28 to sift through the applications to select the 10 projects who will be eligible for the £50,0000 funding.

Source: Simon Perry via hyperlocal n0tice

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Mike Rawlins on how Pits n Pots offers ‘a proper good pub discussion’ around politics online

May 10th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Traffic

Mike Rawlins, founder of the Stoke-based political hyperlocal site Pits n Pots spoke at the regional Society of Editors meeting today, on the site’s origins and where it plans to move to in the future.

Born out of a desire to “see the city improve”, Rawlins argued that the site aimed to cater for a what he felt was a need for more discussion around local politics, adding that the site’s highly active comment threads today are like a “a proper good pub discussion”.

Pits n Pots holds a simple ethos:

  • no editing in audio interviews
  • no editing of video interviews
  • no spinning stories: it’s always just straight down the line
  • any political parties get to use the platform

As Pits n Pots is run by enthusiasts, rather than journalists, it focusses on providing the information, and allows the community to read into it. Not editing interviews also minimises the need for technical expertise.

The site has seen a rapid growth in traffic, moving from around 1,900 unique visitors a day, with 6,000 pageviews in December 2009, up to approximately 12,000 unique visitors and 30,000 pageviews a day in April and May of 2011 as the site provided far more comprehensive coverage of the local elections than the local press. Other successes for the site include providing live coverage of a Stoke on Trent EDL rally, and posting videos from their coverage of the day which resulted in them being the 2nd highest news channel on YouTube globally for two days.

Now supported by the Journalism Foundation, April 2012 saw Pits n Pots attempt a print format, produced by the journalism students at Staffordshire University, printing 50,000 copies. Journalism.co.uk reported that this one-off print edition, which was created as a marketing tool, helped to double Pits n Pots web traffic.

Rawlins says that the site will never be a full time job for him, but he hopes to employ a journalist in the future to progress the site, to facilitate better use of data, more investigative content, and allow better scrutiny of the local council.

He concluded that hyperlocal sites like Pits n Pots would never replace the local paper, and that they can coexist.

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#jpod – Hyperlocal news: Struggles for sustainability online and successes in print

April 20th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Podcast

The debate into how to make hyperlocal websites pay for the journalism they carry has been discussed for as long as the local news sites have been running.

Earlier this week we reported how Nesta announced late last month that it was putting up £1 million to fund hyperlocals. That followed a move four months ago when the Lebvedev family launched the Journalism Foundation with a local political news site, Pits n Pots, as one of the first two projects it was supporting.

This podcast looks at the current ideas for making hyperlocal sites sustainable, including public funding, and we hear from three hyperlocals, all of which have published print products to raise awareness of their web offerings or to make their business models pay.

Journalism.co.uk technology correspondent Sarah Marshall speaks to:

  • Rachel Howells, a director of the Port Talbot Magnet and a PhD student researching the impact of the closure of local newspapers.
  • Richard Coulter, former chief sub-editor and assistant editor at the Bristol Evening Post who now runs the Filton Voice, a (profitable) hyperlocal print magazine now into its seventh edition.
  • Mike Rawlins who runs Pits n Pots, which is backed by the Journalism Foundation.
  • Damian Radcliffe, author of the Nesta report mentioned above.
  • Andy Williams, a lecturer at Cardiff University who has research interests in the local newspaper industry in South Wales.

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the Journalism.co.uk iTunes podcast feed.

 

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Charity offering £1m funding to hyperlocal sector

April 19th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Local media

A major report into the advancement of the hyperlocal press was published earlier this month, alongside a £1 million investment to stimulate the sector.

Destination Local, a 15,000 word study, identifies the technologies, business models, and content opportunities for a successful hyperlocal media sector in the UK. The report states that new location-based technologies, such as mobile phones with GPS, “offer a potential revolution for very local – or hyperlocal – media”.

Author Damian Radcliffe analyses the challenges faced by the traditional media trying to access local people, and hyperlocal bloggers looking to widen their audience.

The report was funded by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), an independent charity providing grants to digital innovation research projects. NESTA is offering 10 organisations up to £50,000 each to develop next generation hyperlocal media services.

The Technology Strategy Board is running a parallel competition offering ten local cross-media platforms up to £56,250 of grant funding each.

A spokesperson for NESTA told Journalism.co.uk that although traditional business models are being challenged by the web, “the democratisation of media means that actually there has never been a better or easier time to set up and run a local media service.

Making it pay of course is another thing. The Destination Local programme aims to better understand the economics of delivering hyperlocal media at scale, in a sustainable way.

The application process closes on 17 May and successful bids will be notified by 29 June.

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Media release: Students produce one-off newspaper

April 5th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Local media, Newspapers

A group of journalism students at Staffordshire University have produced a newspaper to promote political and news comment site Pits n Pots.

The unique publication, which will be delivered to some 50,000 houses across Stoke-on-Trent next week, features 16 pages of community and political news as well as features and profiles of community champions.

The initiative saw volunteers given just three weeks to assemble a team, research and create content and finally design the paper.

Andrew Bettridge, who edited the paper, said:

It was a brilliant effort by the whole team to get the paper produced in such a short space of time. It was a lot of hard work but we all had great fun working on it and we are all very proud of the finished result. I hope the people of Stoke-on Trent enjoy reading it.

“The skills we have picked up from the teaching staff at Staffordshire University have helped us to put together a slick and professional newspaper.

Mike Rawlins of the Pits n Pots website said:

“The site is run by local volunteers who write about politics and issues that they are interested in. They write because they are passionate about what they believe in.”

The project is backed by The Journalism Foundation which has been working with Pits n Pots to reprofile the site while boosting community engagement.

Head of the foundation Simon Kelner, former editor of the Independent, and managing director Charlie Burgess, formerly of the Independent and the Guardian, visited the Staffordshire University newsroom during the process.

Burgess said:

“It was great to work with such an enthusiastic group of students who understood what The Journalism Foundation was doing. The project would not have been possible without them – and I hope they felt it was of benefit to them too. Staffordshire University were fantastic with their support.”

Jackie Gregory, senior lecturer in journalism at Staffordshire University, said:

“Around a dozen students, who all have a busy university workload, gave up many hours of their own time to produce this paper. They worked under pressure with great dedication and humour. It was a learning curve but they can be proud of the result.”

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