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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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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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Media release: Extra Newspapers launches new hyperlocal titles

April 4th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Local media, Newspapers

Image copyright Extra Newspapers

Extra Newspapers have launched the first in a string of new hyperlocal publications today designed to bring community news back to the fore.

The Kettering Extra and The Corby Extra hit news stands this morning with a cover price of 50p and a Wellingborough edition is set to follow on 18 April.

After some 14 months development, Extra Newspapers, which has offices in the Midlands, South East and Lancashire, put out a release last week detailing today’s launch:

Each paper, which is fortnightly, is designed to appeal to the traditional newsprint reader as well as the younger, digital savvy readership. Each one will be wholly dedicated to hyperlocal news – with companies and communities invited to contribute their news, views and event details to their local Extra paper.

The newspapers will have a start-up circulation of 10,500 and a cover price of just 50 pence, bringing readers everything from football results and birth announcements to school news, council facts, events, news and local views.

Stuart Parker, managing director, added:

Corby, a town of 55,000 people had until now no newspaper to call its own. The Corby Extra will give Corby what it wants most of all and that’s a voice across the community.

We intend to truly support local business and with the gradual shift in recent years to high advertising rates, the regional press has made it almost impossible for small businesses to communicate effectively with their target audiences. Extra will also be providing value for money advertising rates, so that businesses can quite simply afford to advertise and communicate.

 

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Guardian launches Streetstories, an app for King’s Cross

March 21st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Mobile

The Guardian has launched Streetstories, an iPhone and Android app, providing audio stories based on the phone’s location.

The app is another Guardian project focusing on social, local mobile and is launched the day after the public release of n0tice, another move by the news organisation into the SoLoMo space.

Launched ahead of the Guardian’s Open Weekend event this weekend, the Streetstories app provides a guide to King’s Cross,the area of London where King’s Place, the Guardian building where the event will take place, is located.

Francesca Panetta, the app’s creator, has blogged about it.

Streetstories is a free app for iPhone and Android which triggers audio relevant to your location – your smartphone knows where you are, and plays the stories automatically. The way the app works is you plug in your headphones, start up the ‘autoplay’ mode and put your smartphone in your pocket. The app will find where you are and start playing the clips, so you don’t need to press any buttons, just wander anywhere in the area and your route will create your own narrative

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Guardian hyperlocal platform n0tice now open to all

March 21st, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Hyperlocal, Mobile

The Guardian’s latest venture into hyperlocal publishing is now open to all with the “full open release” of n0tice.

Matt McAlister, director of digital strategy for the Guardian Media Group, presented the social, local, mobile offering at today’s Changing Media Summit.

The seed of the idea came out of a Guardian Hack Day project inspired by geolocation services.

McAlister explained the concept to Journalism.co.uk, which has tracked the progress of n0tice:

If the phone knows where you are and if I see something interesting around me, why can’t I report on that and be an active citizen journalist or participant?

The team evolved the idea into “a community service explicitly tied to a location, almost as a navigation or a filter for finding information”.

Since accepting members by invitation only, early users have been influencing its development.

The platform has opportunities for hyperlocal news sites, which can brand a noticeboard, tracking interaction using web analytics.

Some hyperlocals have adopted n0tice as “their events database, essentially submitting events directly onto notice but with their brand and look and feel”.

McAlister explained that it can increase engagement for hyperlocals.

WordPress is a wonderful publishing environment but it’s not as good as crowdsourcing reports. You can get someone to comment on something you’ve written but it’s not as good for letting anyone share anything original directly into a community space.

The platform also has wider opportunities for hyperlocals and other users: they can potentially make money by creating a noticeboard.

Based on a classifieds system with users paying for premium ads, noticeboard owners keep 85 per cent of the revenue generated.

Here Matt McAlister explains the project’s development:

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Essex hyperlocal website teams up with Archant to launch magazine

A hyperlocal website in Essex has teamed up with regional newspaper publisher Archant to launch a print edition.

EverythingEppingForest.co.uk, which was founded in 2008 by local journalist David Jackman, will bring out the glossy monthly magazine from next month.

Printed by Archant, it will be delivered to 10,000 homes in the area and will include local community news and information, events and advertising.

In a statement published on the Everything Epping Forest website (not directly linkable – scroll down), Archant London commercial director Tony Little said: “We are delighted to have set up this partnership with David who is a much-respected local journalist, with important contacts in the local area.

“His success with Everything Epping Forest should be applauded and we are delighted to get involved with such a successful community-focused initiative.”

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New Guardian community platform n0tice invites more users

October 26th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Citizen journalism, Hyperlocal


n0tice, the Guardian’s latest community project, has today opened to more users.

The platform is an online version of a village noticeboard, allowing people to post and find community news and classified ads. It is location-based, enabling searches and delivering news related to any location worldwide.

Guardian News & Media plans to make money out of the site, which was inspired by a hack day, by charging for featured ads and selling the white-labelled technology to companies wanting to use n0tice for commercial purposes.

The platform has a read API, a self-serve white label version and feed importing meaning that it can be adapted for hyperlocals and “could potentially work just as well for hyperlocal community bloggers in northern England as it could for cricket fans in India or birdwatching groups in Oregon”, Sarah Hartley, community strategist at GMG and one of a team of three working on the project told Journalism.co.uk.

Matt McAlister, director of digital strategy at the Guardian, has announced the latest developments in a blog post:

The release today is a big one for us. We’ve added the ability to create your own n0ticeboard.

He goes on to say:

If we can make citizen journalism possible in more contexts for more communities then I think we will have done a good thing. If we can also make citizen journalism a financially sustainable activity then we will have done a great thing.

As we go along we are increasingly unsure of what happens next. Participants are starting to determine what we do more and more. So, if you want this platform to do something, please get in early and share your thoughts with us.

The platform is in still private beta so invite-only, but Journalism.co.uk has 10 invites. You can try to claim a n0tice invite by clicking here.

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