Category Archives: Publishing

Hyperlocal; What works and what doesn’t – the big opportunity

Jusintc of Neighborlogs has put togther a list of  ’20 does and don’t of hyperlocal publishing’ for the Digital Journalism Camp Portland.

Its all fairly self explanatory sound advice.  My only comment (and I would like Justin’s view on this) is about taking a really radical step in advertising that involves asking local advertisers what they want, rather than just selling them spare (print) itinerary!! 

I have felt for a long time that one of the really big hurdles for big print media is getting ad sales staff to think digital.  To look at what all their platforms can do for a client and put together targeted interactive campaigns and activities that deliver what they ‘need’. 

This looks simple when you write it down, but it is actually a massive cultural change.  If you think getting journalists to think digital has been a challenge, wait till you have to deal with the commercial staff…  but I think this is where the big opportunity lies.


Hyperlocal and big media, reconcile to survive and thrive

chicagonbcNBC has launched a series of 10 city Web sites based on its NBC stations.  These include such places as Chicago and Los Angeles.  What is interesting is that this is described as being part of the ‘NBC Local Media’s hyperlocal brand strategy’.

I think this is an interesting example of the differing perspectives of what local or hyperlocal presently means.  For ‘big’ or broadcast media, hyperlocal usually means sub-regional or metropolitan (city sized), for the rest of us it means neighbourhood or parish. 

These are clearly very different concepts that have significant importance in terms of how people relate to them and identify with them.  One of the challenges is going to be reconciling these two positions, because in the long term big media will need to work with local UGC to survive and local advocates will need to work with big media to thrive.


BTW, I typed ‘bug media’ in the last sentence by mistake, I just thought you would like to know.

MSN Local asks local newspapers to join hyperlocal news project

I think that this is a fascinating post from Liz Webber.  Apparently MSN is looking for local UK newspapers to provide hyperlocal content for its MSN Local network. 

Whilst I have always felt regional publishers have a bright future by carefully sharing content that can drive traffic to their sites, it will be instructive to see if MSN can make money out of this.

John Bull’s early hyperlocal strategy

I was on holiday last week in Cornwall and spent a very happy hour in the museum at St Ives. 

Amongst the eclectic mix of mining and seafaring memorabilia was the front page of ‘The  Western Mail’ from about 1890.  Reading it I was struck by what it contained compared to what it didn’t. 

It certainly didn’t have much news. Only one part of one column, at the bottom of the left hand side of the page was news.  The rest was information vital to the times; agricultural prices, market dates, tide times, ship departures, cargoes, jobs and vacancies, etc. 

It struck me again that ‘John Bull’ my imaginary entrepreneurial printer from two centuries ago was smartly giving people what they wanted from his printing press.  He was establishing himself as the best source of local information in the market.  Something contemporary hyperlocal publishers may want to think about. 

The idea that newspapers have always been about news, or that ‘news’ is the ‘compelling’ content that people want above all else may not only not be true, but quite misleading.

Hyper-local: business models from history

When many newspapers began, what they had that no one else had was a printing press.  In  fact printing newspapers was often just one of the many different printed products that they produced while they searched for a viable business model.  What they had were skills in printing, not journalism.  Many contemporary hyper-local publishers are hemming themselves in by thinking they are  solely in the news business.  In the widest possible sense they are in the digital publishing business with expertise in technology, project management, content production and distribution, communications, design, etc, etc. .

So what does this mean to hyper-local publishers?  Well don’t count on Ad revenue alone, look at other digital services that your community needs; web site production, e-commerce, web hosting, content management, intranet development, viral marketing, social media news releases, etc, etc and aim to be the centre of digital publishing in your neck of the woods and you just might build enough decent revenue streams as a digital publisher to support a business that produces news as well. 

Many years ago I worked in new media in the conventional newspaper  industry and we found that we generated more revenue from designing and building websites, than we did  from Ad revenue.  However we concentrated on news instead of being open minded about which of these new revenue streams delivered the goods; unlike our old fashioned entrepreneurial printer.

Behavioural targeting still gets ‘cool’ response

New Media Age reports that research that it has done shows that people are still pretty negative about behavioural targeting on websites.  This is a hard one for me, for whilst I am the first person to worry about over surveillance, I think this is bad news for hyper-local publishers who anticipate at least some of their revenue coming through advertising targeted this way.  I would assume that a number of ad networks intend to offer hyper-local publishers access to big campaigns if they are ‘plugged in’ to their system that guarantees them the ability to refine the communications to specific groups.  Revenue that otherwise they would have no access to.

Stick it in your hyperlocal pipe and…

pipesI can see a real future for the work of John Bounds who has done a great job in developing a Google pipes solution to deliver hyperlocal blogging from Birmingham as RSS feeds.  Thanks to John there is a really clear work through (with pictures) which I am sure even an idiot like me could follow – so I should give it a go.  I don’t know what John does, but I think he has a future authoring open learning materials!

The end of news websites? | Online Journalism Blog

Its always a pleasure to link through to Paul Bradshaws Online Journalism Blog.  This is a very interesting piece by Vadim Lavrusik on a range of exciting developments through NewsCloud which look well worth investigating.

As Vadim says,

“The End of News Websites.  The question is no longer just a hypothetical one. With increasing convergence between social media and traditional content, what is known as a traditional news website might not exist in the coming years.

Perhaps a revealing example is the creation of Facebook applications by a Seattle-based aggregator, NewsCloud, which received a grant from the Knight Foundation to study how young people receive their news through social networks”.

via  The end of news websites? | Online Journalism Blog.

Hyperlocal blog found to be financially viable!

Here’s a very interesting post by Benet.J.Wilson on the ‘business model’ (don’t you hate the phrase) of a hyperlocal website ( that is managing to balance the books (three cheers for them).  I get the impression that part of their success is the fact that they are very active in their community and presumably know their advertisers and their customers very well.  It sort of reminds me of newspapers in days gone by!

Here’s link to the original article from CUNY.

PA’s bold ‘public service reporting’ initiative

Roy Greenslade discusses the proposal by the Press Association to provide ‘free’ public service reporting of courts and councils.  This is going to take the strain from quite a few local papers that are really struggling at the moment and should be applauded in terms of a democratic def cit.  Its interesting that Roy reports that PA’s proposal is to provide copy free of charge to ‘relevant local media outlets’  I wonder if this will include hyperlocal UGC iniatitves or will it only include the corporates, it would be a shame if it did.  I will try and out.