Category Archives: Hyperlocal

Preston hyperlocal site bids for funding for 2012 community project

Preston hyperlocal news and community site Blog Preston is competing for £5,000 in funding to help it cover 2012’s Preston Guild, a historic city celebration held once every 20 years.

The funding is on offer from the Co-operative’s Start a Revolution competition, which aims to help community groups and charities with projects that will benefit the community, inspire young people, or combat climate change or global poverty.

The competition is split into different regions, with Blog Preston up against a wide variety of bids in the Northern England group. Competition ranges from other media initiatives, including the 7 Waves Community Radio project, which offers training in radio production, script writing, interviewing, sound production and other skills, to projects based on angling, boxing, the arts, and more.

According to Blog Preston founder Ed Walker, the site intends to use the money to “capture the Guild stories, research the history, film events and speak to people who saw the last Guild (or four) and make sure those memories are not lost”.

Our site has a track record of great community coverage, from meetings about saving swimming polls to covering when the EDL came to town to up-to-the-minute updates on the general election. We know how to cover events, and we want to make sure the Preston Guild is covered to the full extent. And who knows, it might inspire those involved in covering it to find out more about their city and the Guild itself.

The competition is open to a public vote until the 29 May. You see more about the Blog Preston bid at this link, or visit the Co-operative competition site for more information and the opportunity to vote.

Journal Local: Chance for hyperlocals to win £5000

The Co-operative is offering £5,000 prize money for community-focused projects doing something “revolutionary”, reports Journal Local.

As the Lichfield Blog’s Philip John points out, it’s a great opportunity for hyperlocal sites up and down the country.

As many hyperlocal sites are volunteer-run, not-for-profit groups who are really making a difference in their community this is a great opportunity to really push things forward.

I’ll be applying. Will you?

The Co-operative’s website has full details of how to apply.

Philip will be speaking about hyperlocal and data journalism at Journalism.co.uk’s upcoming news:rewired conference. See the news:rewired site for more info about Philip’s session, plus the full list of confirmed speakers and full agenda.

Journal Local: Birmingham journalism students launch hyperlocal news agency

Three Birmingham City journalism students have created a hyperlocal news agency for their final year dissertation project.

Newswaves aims to provide content for hyperlocal blogs around the West Midlands and drive traffic in their direction by publishing links and excerpts.

Most people start Hyperlocal blogs purely because of their love of the area and run them as a hobby, meaning that they don’t always have the time or the means to cover all the stories they’d like to; that’s where the Newswaves team come in.

Full post on Journal Local at this link.

Birmingham student launches hyperlocal site for final year project

A final year undergraduate from Birmingham City University has set up her own hyperlocal news site for Hednesford, in an attempt to build on the local news currently available and offer more stories focused on the community.

Kellie Maddox, who is studying Media and Communication (Journalism), is running Hednesford News on her own at the moment, as part of a final year project inspired by a number of other start-ups within the hyperlocal field over the last couple of years.

In time she hopes to build up a community of reporters and also work on a business plan to monetise the project.

Currently, the site is not-for-profit for its duration as my final year project but in the future, I do hope to make the site more financially sustainable. There are lots of people, much more knowledgeable than me, trying to come up with business models for these kinds of sites and it’d be great, if between us, we could come up with something. For me, I don’t think I’d ever see the site as a money-maker, what’s more important is the quality and range of content I hope to deliver, that is currently not offered by the limited media in our area. Community engagement is one of my main aims because I feel that many people, who have favoured local newspapers for years, are now not being provided with really relevant content specific to their location. I hope this offers me a chance to do just that.

Read the full Q&A with Maddox on Journalism.co.uk’s TNTJ blog.

Newsday: The one-off paper aiming to ‘revitalise local news’

Next month a team of journalists in Hertfordshire will come together to produce a one-off tabloid local newspaper called Newsday: The Vocal Local. The project aims to “revitalise” local news by adopting a typical ‘hyperlocal’ approach, focusing on getting out into the community and sourcing stories from the targeted audience.

The person at the heart of the project is Kate Dobinson, a freelance journalist and English literature graduate. After working on her local newspaper she said she recognised the value of being a ‘roving reporter’ but at the same time felt time and resource limitations in local newsrooms hinders the extent to which this can take place.

So she came up with a plan which she hoped would “revitalise local news”, rounding up a team of journalists to work as reporters, designers and editors to produce a one-off publication with a focus on community.

She told Journalism.co.uk a bit more about the project:

I was working on my local newspaper and my brief from the editor was: get out. Get out and talk to people, be nosy, ask questions, don’t come back until you have stories that we’re too bogged down with deadlines to find. My method wasn’t intelligent; all I did was pop into the florist/market/car boot (sale) ask people if they had any news and proffer slightly stale hob nobs in return. With a bit of prompting (most people had great newsworthy stuff but didn’t actually know it was newsworthy) I got a bunch of yarns and ended up being kicked out of the office permanently to keep it up.

Obviously it isn’t a realistic option for a small newsroom skint on time and manpower to traipse around all day for ideas that only might pay off. But it did get me thinking that the financial strait-jacket that many poor locals are laced in is slowly hacking at the idea of the ‘roving reporter’, making it difficult to truly capitalise on a connection with the community and to find imaginative content that readers will want to buy week in week out. It made me want to experiment with and revitalise local news in my area. Finding stories on my own made me realise that I didn’t need a newsroom and a coaster to get a paper out; maybe I could do it with a few more reporters, some raw skills and a bit more coffee.

After advertising for a team of writers and designers more than 25 people signed up to be involved in the project, while West Herts College volunteered some of their media students and facilities to help with production, she said.

Tune in next week for the return of TNTJ

After a short spell in the wilderness, Journalism.co.uk’s Tomorrow’s News, Tomorrow’s Journalists blog (TNTJ) will be active again from next week.

TNTJ is a great place for young journalists to make their voice heard, either by responding to the blog’s monthly debate topics, cross-posting content from their own blogs or flagging up content elsewhere that adds to the conversation.

Next week is also Hyperlocal Week over on the Wannabe Hacks site. To coincide with that we’ll be running a hyperlocal-focused debate this month on TNTJ, so start thinking small.

If you are under 30 and want to register for TNTJ, simply follow this link. If you are already a TNTJ member, simply carry on as normal.

If you are interested in helping with organising or promoting TNTJ please get in contact via joel [at] journalism.co.uk or @joelmgunter.

Follow TNTJ on Twitter: @TNTJ

Hyperlocal funding situation is ‘seriously challenged’, warns Claire Enders

The funding situation for hyperlocal websites in the UK remains “seriously challenged” – and that means they will be run by unpaid “activists and enthusiasts” for some time yet – media analyst Claire Enders said today.

Speaking at a Westminster Media Forum event on local media, the founder and chief executive of Enders Analysis said hyperlocal websites could learn from the model succesfully used in community radio, where hundreds of volunteers give up their time because they “care a lot about their communities”.

She said there would never be a shortage of community activists and enthusiasts interested in getting involved and giving up some spare time.

“The income picture for local websites has turned out to be seriously challenged,” Enders told the forum audience. “They have to exist out of a very enthusiastic, activist level of engagement.”

A recent Ofcom report found the UK community radio sector attracts more than 25,000 volunteer hours a week, with the average station having 75 volunteers on board.

Online Journalism Blog: SE1’s James Hatts on Hyperlocal Voices

Paul Bradshaw’s Hyperlocal Voices series takes a look at the SE1 site this week. The site has been running for 12 years and boasts half a million visits every month. Well worth a read for anyone in the business of hyperlocal journalism.

In the 1970s and 1980s there was a community newspaper called ‘SE1’ but that had died out, and our neighbourhood was just a small part of the coverage areas of the established local papers (South London Press and Southwark News).

We saw that there was a need for high quality local news and information and decided that together we could produce something worthwhile.

Full interview on the Online Journalism Blog at this link

Towards a hyperlocal business model?

Using data from OpenlyLocal, Greenwich.co.uk publisher hyperlocal.co.uk has created a map showing the concentration of hyperlocal websites in the UK.

Hyperlocal may be a word that is too freely used: is a city-based website hyperlocal? Or should it be postcode- or street-based? Then again, why decide? Hyperlocal.co.uk’s map shows the huge range of ‘hyperlocal’ sites operating in the UK and where such local media is currently lacking.

Compare this with a map from advertising solution Addiply of all its hyperlocal clients – ranging from independents to networks like the new STV local offering and Guardian Local. If the number of markers on this map grows, hyperlocal publishers will be able to see their network growth to lure more advertisers, particularly those bigger brands that buy digital ad space UK-wide, but which have media buyers operating from a central office.

While we’re on the subject of hyperlocal sites finding new commercial opportunities, it’s worth mentioning hyperlocal pioneer The Lichfield blog, which in partnership with a local printing co-operative Sabcat Printing has started selling T-shirts from an online shop – Viva LichVegas. It’s something Scottish website GreenerLeith does too – making pounds and publicity, and an interesting experiment in hyperlocal business models.

Yahoo rolling out new US local network in beta

Yahoo has started to roll out a new local product offering dedicated pages of news, events and deals for a number of locations in the US, lostremote.com reported this week.

Beta pages for Yahoo Local have emerged for San Francisco, Brooklyn and Michigan, which can be viewed by city or neighbourhood and feature a list of aggregated posts.

Many of the headlines, especially at the neighborhood level, originate from neighborhood blogs. You can post an event, or sign up with Associated Content to become a paid contributor. “We have launched Yahoo! local in a few neighborhoods and towns to refine the experience while gathering more content for the next set of cities,” explains the site.

Journalism.co.uk reported earlier this week that Yahoo had launched a new contributor network which enables its users to publish content onto its sites, following its acquisition of Associated Content earlier this year.