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Hyperlocal for the web? Not so fast, Sparky!

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 2muchcoffeeman, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    http://www.mediabistro.com/mediajobsdaily/digital/hyperlocal_websites_face_same_problem_as_newspapers_113878.asp?c=rss<blockquote>With the shuttering of all these small, local dailies, everyone is wondering where they will find their local news. Well, techies, as usual, have the answer. In the absence of local papers, you can have a hyperlocal website.

    New websites are popping up every day that are offering local news for not just your state, not just your city, but potentially as close as your own block. "Sites, like EveryBlock, Outside.in, Placeblogger and Patch, collect links to articles and blogs and often supplement them with data from local governments and other sources," reports the New York Times. "They might let a visitor know about an arrest a block away, the sale of a home down the street and reviews of nearby restaurants."

    While sites like these have been in development for years, a new urgency has taken shape in the last few months as local papers like the Rocky Mountain News and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have stopped printing.

    Like newspapers though, these sites need to bring in revenue to sustain themselves. Thus far they have only had limited success selling advertisement. The problem is when you slice the market so small, there aren't enough viewers of a given page to make the ad revenue worth while.</blockquote>So where's the money coming from, hyperlocal junkies?
     
  2. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    I know there's a site in my former neck of the woods that writes/blogs/whatever about local news. Not sure it's the most credible site in that area, but still.....
     
  3. topsheep

    topsheep Member

    I read this in the Times yesterday. I got an e-mail from someone in my neck of the woods asking me to apply for a Patch job. Not sure I can make that leap of faith yet.
     
  4. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    We need to make a distinction between news reporting, whose only successful future model will be on a Web-based hyper-local level, and unfunded blogging about local news/events, which clearly isn't a revenue-generating model now or for the future?

    No, your Web site about your block doesn't have a chance at generating revenue. But, yes, reporting local news in an in-depth manner still has a terrific chance of eventually generating revenue.
     
  5. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    They seem to be thinking of neighborhoods and suburbs in urban areas.

    If this is a small town, someone is still going to have to physically go to the police station every day and type up the reports they give. Someone is going to have to sit through the city council meeting.

    And while a web site based around this might generate some revenue, it's not going to make enough for someone to live on. These will be side projects.
     
  6. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    I was thinking about a situation where someone decides to start a web site/blog about their city block (or two or three or four blocks) to provide the news and how they'd pull in advertising revenue.

    Such a web site would probably only have news such as "Suzie Williams graduated fourth grade!" or "Edna got a new cat, bringing her total to 12!" News about the rat problem the Smiths have in their Third Street apartment, or the fact that Corner Grocery is selling moldy bread, would probably not reach the masses, because with such a low advertising pool to pull from, the landlord and the grocery store are probably going to be key contributors.

    I just don't ever see it as a viable option. Someone's going to need to spread the news somehow, and it just doesn't seem like, if this is the way to go, that this thing will ever be profitable.
     
  7. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    Opie Taylor tried this in Mayberry with a print product. He was quickly put out of business by Andy and Barney.
    I believe the headlines in his hyper-local edition were "local preacher's sermons dry as dust," and "she's blonde right out of a bottle."
     
  8. I Digress

    I Digress Guest

    Hell, I'd pay for that ... no, wait, I wouldn't.....so, the newspapers have all gone.. reporting is a vanished myth.. but jill the west end blogger decides to do a story about the dog park that is locked and can't be used.. she calls the city council... and talks to a million secretaries because why in the hell would an actual council member need to reply to her? Can you say tyranny on all levels? That's life without real journalism.
     
  9. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    This should be nominated for post of the year.
    My god. Can you imagine trying to sell ads for a neighborhood block newspaper? Neighbors don't even really know each other anymore at least not like the old days.
     
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