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Introduction to hyper-local media, part three: issues, challenges and futuregazing


12" pack broken into three, due to file size. This is part three, which looks at the issues, challenges and opportunities for the sector. It also involves some future gazing. Comments, feedback and …

12" pack broken into three, due to file size. This is part three, which looks at the issues, challenges and opportunities for the sector. It also involves some future gazing. Comments, feedback and suggestions are very welcome.

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  • 1. Issues and Challenges
  • 2. Top 5 Challenges
    Funding and Making it Pay
    (CSR cuts, advertising – small revenues or inappropriate ads from Ad Sense, ‘big media’ paying for stories etc.)
    3. Resources (often run by one person, or small group)
    - especially an issue in the event of a legal challenge (lack of legal and financial resources, Union support etc.)
    4. Isolation and opportunities to learn from others
    Audience perceptions of quality
    - Our LMR consumer research suggested that some consumers may be turned-off by community media if they perceive it to be low in quality compared to other forms of local media.
    - But other research, and anecdotal evidence suggests strong stickability once services are found.
  • 3. Loyal and Regular users
    Chart showing
    where people
    get their local
    news from.
    NB: self declared
    (c/o Networked
  • 4. Top 5 Opportunities
    1. More partnerships between big traditional media and hyper-local producers.
    Already seen 4iP and Talk About Local.
    New BBC Local Fund announced. Details TBC.
    The Birmingham Mail Communities project : 34 hyper-local sections on the Birmingham Mail website, featuring content from local blogs including Digbeth is Good, The Lichfield Blog and Bournville Village.
    Nick Booth’s new BBC blog on hyper-local websites: “Besides taking an interest in the bloggers, what they write and why they do it, I’ll also be talking to a number of BBC newsrooms and production teams and introducing people.”
    2. Cost of creation continuing to decline (e.g. iPhone, Flip, Wordpress, hosting etc.).
    3. Sector starting to develop cross links.
    Big Society – more volunteers.
    Tie ins with academic bodies, which can encourage diversity and broaden talent pool
    - Bournemouth University launched it’s own hyper-local site:
    - 13 journalism schools in the US taking part in PatchU initiative, with Patch.
  • 5. What might happen next?
  • 6. 1. Overseas players join the UK market
    Most likely, Patch. Which AOL invested $50m in last year.
    “One journalist in each town travels to school board meetings and coffee shops with a laptop and camera.
    Patch also solicits content from readers, pulls in articles from other sites and augments it all with event listings,
    volunteer opportunities, business directories and lists of local information like recycling laws. “
    Dramatic growth and investment plans
    April 2010 = 46 sites in 5 states.
    400 hyperlocal sites over the next six months, bringing its total to 500.
    Hiring 500 more reporters in 20 states.
    “Biggest new hirer of full-time journalists in the U.S.” (Actually, most are part-time.)
    Expansion plans uses a 59-variable algorithm which includes factors like the average household income, how often citizens vote, and high school ranking.
    Claims it costs 1/25 of the cost of a daily newspaper in the same town.
  • 7. 2. Location becomes the norm
    LBS is pretty new. But it may soon become just as much a part of our social media
    activity as hashtags or tagging friends in pictures on Facebook.
    1. Twitter has launched location-based trending topics and location-tagged tweets,
    2. Location based advertising is on the rise.
    3. Geo-tagging becomes more and more popular e.g. Flickr, Picasa etc.
    “This remains a very fragmented market that is full of experimentation.“
    "It's still early days and there's no single 'right' approach to location-based advertising. But as advertisers and vendors get into the space, location
    will become a more natural part of the ecosystem.”
    Neil Strother, director for mobile marketing strategies, ABI Research.
  • 8. 3. New partnerships and tie ins
    Starbucks Digital Network launched in the US in October 2010.
    Offers free (was paid) in-store Wi-Fi and exclusive content for mobile devices.
    c.30m logins to its Wi-Fi p/m. Mostly accessed by smartphones and iPads.
    The network's content includes news, entertainment, business, and health channels, as well as local neighbourhood information.
    Content providers for the network include Bookish Reading Club, Foursquare, GOOD, LinkedIn, New Word City, and The Weather Channel.
    You can also access special content from the New York Times, iTunes,
    and, the latter of which normally sits behind a paywall.
  • 9. 4. More reverse publishing
    Online content converted into print products.
    Attractive to audience not online, or who don’t use the web beyond email or Skype.
    Sweeble, allows community websites to be easily converted into a print product.
    See also Zinepal, Printcasting, iNews and FeedJournal.
    US blogger Michael Josefowicz talks about a new model:
    "Ground > Cloud > Print“ He calls this; “the Printernet”.
  • 10. Current reverse publishing
    In Bakersfield, California, the Northwest Voice (owned by the daily newspaper, the
    Bakersfield Californian) launched in May 2008, taking the best of its Web site and
    putting it in print every other Thursday, delivering it to every house in NW Bakersfield.
    The Chicago Tribune’s Triblocal initiative spans 36 websites and six weekly newspapers
    with a circulation of just over 100,000.
    Operates across towns in five counties.
    Community contributors, staff editors and sales staff, update website daily.
    Publishes a weekly insert showcasing the best of this online community content.
    This is distributed along with the main paper one day each week.
    Inserts are bespoke to each of the different communities involved in Triblocal., which covers Beverley, has started a weekly print version. It’s a small print
    run – about 100 copies. Paul Smith, the publisher, told The Guardian:
    “Local shops have been very supportive with many signing up to advertising package
    that is realistic and very affordable, something that was certainly needed in the area.”
  • 11. Everything is Social
    For some of us, some of the time, much of what we do is already social…
    Clickthroughs on news stories or items friends post to their Facebook wall.
    Following trends via a twitter #tag.
    Social bookmarking like Del.icious.
    Google Alerts.
    75% of news consumed online is through shared news from
    social networking sites or e-mail. Social news is finding us.
    Mashable, Summer 2010
  • 12. Why?
  • 13. Relationships with old media are changing
    We no longer trust journalists like we did
    “What ought to worry all journalists is the
    massive slide in trust, relative to other
    organisations or groups, since this question
    was first asked five years ago…
    Of the 23 groups covered in the current survey,
    journalists have performed worse than every
    other one.
    That applies to each of the seven different kinds
    of journalists we identified except one – the
    red-top reporters, whose reputation was so low
    that it could hardly sink any further.
    Just about the only crumb of comfort to be derived from the figures is the fact that red-
    top journalists no longer prop up the table but have the dubious consolation of being
    overtaken (or undertaken) by estate agents.”
    Steven Barnett, British Journalism Review, Vol 19, No 2, 2008
  • 14. We increasingly want different things
    The days when “news and information were tightly controlled by a few editors, who
    deigned to tell us what we could and should know,” are over.
    No longer would people accept “a godlike figure from above” presenting the news
    as “gospel.” Today’s consumers “want news on demand, continuously updated.
    They want a point of view about not just what happened but why it happened. . . .
    And finally, they want to be able to use the information in a larger community—
    to talk about, to debate, to question, and even to meet people
    who think about the world in similar or different ways.”
    Rupert Murdoch, 2005,
  • 15. “Small is the new big”
    “Don’t dictate to me.
    Or decide for me.
    This is what you’re getting.
    At Six O'clock.
    On Channel 3.
    News from Bedford when you live in a sleepy town just outside Beccles.
    Big is bust; big is broken. 
    Small is the new big.
    And what the web embraces, encourages and empowers is the individual…”
    Rick Waghorn, Norfolk blogger and journo
  • 16. How consumption has – and is - changing
  • 17. 2009 + the move to social
  • 18. 2020 - Traditional broadcasting and news consumption is “dead”
  • 19. Thanks for listening.Any questions?
  • 20. Some Recommended Reading
    5 useful sites about hyper-local
    Openly Local's Hyperlocal Directory:
    Hyperlocal Voices on Paul Bradshaw's Online Journalism Blog:
    Talk About Local Blog:
    Networked Neighbourhoods:
    Sarah Hartley - editor of Guardian Local - personal blog:
    5 hyper-local sites to look at
    Urban -
    Storytelling -
    Holding authority to account -
    Rural - (400 page views a day, village of 500)
    Mix of all of the above -
  • 21. Comments, feedback, further examples and different views are all welcome!