Step 2: ‘Hyperlocal content’

Don’t let the buzzwords bite you.  You know hyperlocal and have probably been doing it for years.

Howard Owens said it best.

“Hyperlocal journalism is just a fad term for what good community papers have been doing for hundreds of years. It’s a fad term for the kind of nuts-and-bolts community coverage many daily newspapers abandoned in the wake of Woodward and Bernstein.”

As we look at Rob Curley’s seven ways to help our industry succeed, let’s get all hyper about local news.

Hyperlocal goes beyond showing up for a school board meeting and going through daily police reports.  It can be about putting the school board minutes and every police report, as well as starting on-line forums and bulletin boards for those in our community who are presently underserved.

Despite the gloom and doom – read no immediate profits – the users and readers and viewers and people who make up our audience are saying this is what they want.

People can now get their news closest to the source.  Where I work, no one could beat us when it came to covering the story of the BTK serial killer or the tornado in Greensburg, KS.  Those were stories happening locally, drawing so much interest nationwide, that people were coming to to find out what we knew.

Those newsrooms not jumping on this, may find themselves beaten by one of those employees they’ve been laying off in recent years.

Debbie Galant, former New Jersey section columnist did just that when her job ended.  She teamed with Liz George to start Baristanet and deliver local news.

Check out Gatehouse Media, where Owens works, and its “Wicked Local” sites.

Or what the Washington Post is doing to reach out

Ryan Sholin offers some innovative tips for how information can be delivered within the structure of current newsrooms on a variety of different platforms.

Hyperlocal is the next step in the evolution of the civic, or community, journalism,  movement of the 1990s.

Now we have the technology to cover our communities ways never before possible.

Defending the First Amendment and promoting open government are more crucial now than ever. Join SPJ's fight for the public’s right to know — either as an SPJ Supporter or a professional, student or retired journalist.


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