Category Archives: localism

News Rewired : Business Models in Community News

Here is a round table discussion from the recent News Rewired Conference discussing the thorny issue of successful business models for Community Journalism.


How hyperlocal could resuscitate town hall debate

There is a great article in The Independent by Neela Debnath about how she beleives hyperlocal news could resuscitate town hall debate.

Neela’s take on this is that as the regional press struggles of survive in the present climate, established and aspiring journalists should see it as their duty to cover their local patch as effectively as they can, principle by the Internet.

As she says of her neighbourhood, “There are so many stories out there that are just not being covered” and that she see’s her work “even if it doesn’t make it into the paper, as a way of creating important information on my local area.”  She also makes the useful point that any hope of David Cameron of creating a successful Big Society will only come about through a strong local press  “to process and deliver this information to the people.”

London Neighbourhoods Online Unconference, some personal thoughts

Jason at Onionbagblog has done a very useful overview of the London Neighbourhoods Unconference at Ofcom last weekend.

I like Jason’s style and he gives the impression that a very informative and helpful event took place.  I am particularly interested in how this is going to map onto the developing localism agenda.

A local TV landscape soon?

Local TV is set to become a big issue in Britain in the next couple of years.

After the abortive IFNC (Independently Funded News Consortium) bids that the last government initiated, Jeremy Hunt the new Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport has asked Nicholas Shott, Head of UK Investment Banking at Lazard to look into the issue of local TV with the aim of DCMS to set out a local media action plan for autumn 2010.

This is on the back of the report he commissioned by Roger Parry when in opposition on the potential for local TV in the UK (as reported here in the Guardian).   It all adds up to some potentially serious changes to the media landscape in the UK, particularly as it strongly fits with the bigger political issue of the Governments, more localism.

Roy Greenslade, as usual has some well informed points to make on the issue

Heres Mr Hunt announcing his thoughts on local TV and the intended relaxation the cross media ownership rules that the big players want to make it work.

Hyperlocal urbanism – Changing the World One Block at a Time

I have come across a very interesting post on the ‘Project for Public Spaces’ website about the importance of neighborliness and building local social capital.

The post points out the contemporary contradiction of most people simultaneously being (for the first time), global and local citizens, as they say “The notion of the neighborhood as an important social institution might seem old-fashioned, like nostalgic memories of the corner soda fountain. Yet it’s actually as up-to-date as an internet café, where you find people communicating with New Zealand and Morocco at their laptops but also striking up conversations with someone at the next table.”

They go on, “The mark of the 21st century person is to have one foot stepping out into the world and another squarely planted in their community. Even as our intellectual and economic horizons expand, the local community is still where we lead our lives, where our toes touch the ground, where everybody knows our name. Being rooted in the neighborhood of your choice (which may be many times zones from the neighborhood where you grew up) offers not just comfort but a prime opportunity to make a difference in the world.”

And in terms of hyperlocal news, “Issues that seem overwhelming at the international or even municipal level can often be effectively tackled close to home. That’s because the people who live in a particular locale are the experts on that place, with the wisdom and commitment to get things done.”

News is what the editor sees on the way to work…

Years ago when I started work in the new media department of a local newspaper, I spotted this saying somewhere, “news is what the editor sees on the way to work””.  

I thought this was a silly throw away remark, but the more I worked with the editor the more I realised that his personal news agenda was almost inescapable and ‘what  he saw on the way to work’ was actually really important.  In fact the more that all the journalists saw about the area that they knew the more informed the news would be.

Unfortunately journalists have reduced greatly in number, rarely live in the areas that they cover and almost never come from these neighbourhoods.  This is the niche that good hyperlocal can really fill.

Localharvest, a new resource for local living.

In the spirit of trying to link up different aspects of localism, hyperlocal activity and sustainability I’d like to recommend LocalHarvest.

As they say, “The best organic food is whats grown closest to you”, and that you can, ” Use our website to find farmers markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area” which sounds good to me.”