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Wall Street Journal calls hyperlocal effort a "flop"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by TheHacker, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

  2. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    A year isn't a long time to build an audience.

    I wouldn't call countywide "hyperlocal."

    They hired outsiders to do it.

    But I don't think "hyperlocal" is ever going to be what the WP does best or what most its readers are primarily going to want from it.
  3. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    Well, that's probably as hyperlocal as a paper like the Post is going to get. Is the real story here the fact that community papers (that already cover all of this stuff routinely) are going to be the thriving end of the newspaper business? If so, it's not happening yet. But smaller, suburban papers don't have to drastically alter their way of operating in order to cover what's local. Seems like they should have an advantage in the market ... aside from the pesky issue of how to keep the ad revenue coming in.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think hyperlocal has it's merits but we have to find a way to present the news in different ways or allow the readers to be more interactive.
  5. captzulu

    captzulu Member

    From the story, it sounds like the Post did a pretty crappy job promoting the site:

    Mr. Curley says whenever a big story breaks involving Loudoun County, the Post typically publishes it on Washingtonpost.com without a link to LoudounExtra. That deprives LoudounExtra of potential traffic. Nor does the Washingtonpost's own dedicated Loudoun County page send visitors directly to its online sibling. In September, when Time Warner Inc.'s AOL unit announced it was moving its headquarters from Dulles, Va., to New York, the Post linked to the story on LoudounExtra.com for a couple hours before moving the story back to its own site. That window of promotion fueled the Loudoun site's best traffic day to date, Mr. Curley says.

    Mr. Brady now says he is considering replacing the current Loudoun County page on Washingtonpost.com with LoudounExtra.com, although he adds he doesn't want LoudounExtra.com or future hyperlocal sites to be too dependent on Washingtonpost.com for traffic.

    That just sounds silly, pumping resources into developing a good site and then not doing one of the easiest things you can do to promote it -- linking to it from relevant stories on washingtonpost.com. On its own, a new site like this will no doubt struggle to gain attention. It has a built-in advantage in its affiliation with a very well known brand (the Post), yet the Post doesn't seem to capitalize on that. I think replacing washingtonpost.com's Loudon page with loudonextra.com would be a step in the right direction.
  6. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, the WSJ never aked Curley or Brady why that situation exists, leaving people to draw snap conclusions that may be inaccurate. Perhaps the WP had very good business or journalism reasons to try to keep the two separate. That would be my guess, as the WP also has its own Loudon page and why would it need two of them? It's possible that LoudonExtra.com serves as a sort of Internet version of a daily's TMC shopper weekly -- a line of defense against another company creating a product, rather than a product that's meant to be a huge money maker. WSJ did a sucky job on this.
  7. kleeda

    kleeda Active Member

    At least for the 250k and up circulation papers, my thought has always been that if "hyperlocal" is what you believe yoiu can do best, it's a serious indictment on the rest of your newspaper.

    I don't give a rip about what Johnny and Janie do on the ballfield until it's MY Johnny and Janie. As it is, you're expending scarce resources on 300 people a week. Idiotic from Day 1.
  8. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    Short of letting the hyperlocals report it - and that won't end well - what more can be done than to let readers respond online? And there are numerous sites where we see people with more immature responses than the odd troll or three on this board.
  9. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think we need to find ways to allow people to have some control over the designs of the pages. Lots of places have relied on folks to do certain columns or provide information for clubs and such and I think we need to really encourage them to add to the site, etc.

    Hell, if ESPN.com can survive and profit without any apparent editing, I think some hyperlocal site can manage it.
  10. kleeda

    kleeda Active Member

    I still believe people PAY for professionalism, not to read eachother.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I didn't say anything about the staffers doing less. This would be in addition to that.
  12. kleeda

    kleeda Active Member

    How's that going to work with news hole? Fat chance they add pages.
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