Liz Asyan, a pHD student researching local government and citizen engagement online, has reproduced the answers she gave in an interview on Camden Council’s plans for using hyperlocal websites. Asyan is firm in her belief that local authorities using a hyperlocal strategy online will be “unofficial contributors” to the sites, but will leave them alone in the hands of citizens:
I do not see councils as “using” hyperlocal sites because they are not there to interfere nor moderate/own the hyperlocal websites. They hyperlocal websites belong to citizens and they are the “users” of hyperlocal websites. Councils are unofficial contributors to useful information that can help citizens within that particular area. So you can view councils as being just another member of that community sitting side-by-side with citizens, reaching out on citizens level without any barriers or judgements. This type of engagement will hopefully break down the barriers or walls that currently exist between councils and citizens and increase citizens trust towards local authorities.
Interesting to consider how such hyperlocal projects by local authorities will change the local media landscape and potentially their role as community media and publishers.