Hyperlocal sites downplayed by MPs and mainstream – signs of progress?

Two separate posts on hyperlocal sites and independent news start-ups:

First, Patrick Smith at paidContent:UK has a round-up of yesterday’s Association of Online Publishers (AOP) microlocal media forum, where Roger Green, digital managing director at Newsquest, says he’s had enough of new start-ups coming to the group asking for support and funding when they haven’t got a business plan.

Green says he’s open to ‘reasonable’ offers, but suggests that hyperlocal start-ups must have the model to take them on or work with existing local media groups.

As Smith writes:

“In short, 2010 will not be the year of hyperlocal – these are the foothills, the beginnings of localised online publishing. But the signs are auspicious: increasing levels of online literacy and broadband connections mixed with more inevitable local newspaper closures mean it’s natural that readers – and advertisers – will shift to new outlets. Whether anyone will be making a real living from it – as a mainstream publisher or a start-up – seems unlikely in the near future…”

On the Online Journalism Blog, Paul Bradshaw has a verbatim report of Tuesday’s final select committee on the future of local and regional media, in which MP Adrian Sanders dismissed hyperlocal websites (and arguably online news sites because of their status as online) as ‘tittle tattle’.

Perhaps 2010 will be the year of hyperlocal having to prove itself and change opinions of people like Sanders. Still it’s encouraging to a degree that the discussion took place at all – especially for the name-dropped Pits ‘n’ Pots site.

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