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The Hyperlocal Opportunity

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Presentation to Regionalmedien Austria (RMA) an Austrian media company. RMA distributes free (advertiser-funded) newspapers throughout Austria that include local, regional and national content, reaching almost 50% market saturation. (Wikipedia)

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The Hyperlocal Opportunity

  1. 1. The hyperlocal opportunity Damian Radcliffe June 23rd 2016 Damian Radcliffe / @damianradcliffe
  2. 2. About Me Journalist and researcher exploring online news, hyperlocal and community journalism, as well as wider trends in social media and technology. – Carolyn S. Chambers Professor in Journalism, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon. – Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts – Honorary Research Fellow, Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University. Damian writes regularly about journalism and technology for major media outlets such as BBC, Huffington Post, MediaShift, CBS Interactive (ZDNet) and TheMediaBriefing.
  3. 3. Running Order 1. Overview 2. Impact 3. Challenges 4. Opportunities 5. Q&A
  4. 4. Part 1: Definitions and Typology
  5. 5. Definition “Online news or content services pertaining to a town, village, single postcode or other small, geographically defined community.” Damian Radcliffe (March 29, 2012) "Here and Now: UK hyperlocal media today".
  6. 6. Many different types of site
  7. 7. Different size patches Town / City Visit Horsham: http://www.visithorsham.co.uk/ Blog Preston: http://blogpreston.co.uk/ Pegasus News: http://www.pegasusnews.com/ (Dallas-Fort Worth) Village Parwich.org: http://parwich.org/ Bournville: http://bournvillevillage.com/ Postcode / Ward SE1: http://www.london-se1.co.uk/ HU17: http://www.hu17.net/ Greater Jackson Ward: http://www.gjwn.net/news/ (Richmond, VA) Defined community e.g. estate, area, or niche geographic community of interest Weir Estate, Lambeth: http://www.wera.org.uk/ Clapham: http://www.loveclapham.com/ Leith: http://www.greenerleith.org/ Irish Philadelphia: http://irishphiladelphia.com/ Capitol Fax: http://capitolfax.com/ (News for Illinois political insiders)
  8. 8. Varying Production Models Created via a range of different production models, including: 1. Professional – websites run as a full-time operation, often by journalists e.g. OnTheWight and InDenver Times 2. Citizen run/produced – produced by citizens, often alongside a day job e.g. PitsnPots and Duke City Fix (Albuquerque, New Mexico) 3. Hybrid – sites combining the input of trained journalists and citizen input e.g. Lichfield Blog and Lakeland Local (Florida) 4. Aggregator/Automated – owners typically do not write any content. e.g. Planet Balham or Windy Citizen (Chicago)
  9. 9. … and different funding models • Online Advertising • Printed What’s On Guide (SE1) • Printed Newspaper (Brixton Bugle) • Social Media Services (Oakland Local) • Copywriting (Caerphilly Observer) • eBooks (Londonist) • Property supplement (HU17.net) • Weekly newsletter (ChiswickW4.com) • Groupon and local deals (Caerphilly Observer)
  10. 10. Driven be a range of motives • Filling gaps (content/geographic) • Entrepreneurial journalists • Civic minded citizens and/or journos • Bigger media groups / profit seekers
  11. 11. Hyperlocal graveyard
  12. 12. Just some examples worth a look.
  13. 13. Bottom Line There is no one size fits all solution. And no such thing as a typical hyperlocal site. They’re all different.
  14. 14. Cross-cultural synergies
  15. 15. Reminder: why this matters 1. Hold authority to account. 2. Reflect – and define – communities. 3. First draft of history. 4. Training ground for national outlets. 5. Small local stories often become big national ones.
  16. 16. Founder Tracy Record recently told Poynter, says success is simple: "We listen. When readers start to ask about a particular type of thing we hadn’t been covering … that’s a signal to us that it’s time to start covering. But that means you have to have a relationship with the community."
  17. 17. Part 2: 10 examples of impact
  18. 18. 1. Holding authority to account Local publishers have: • Reported on by-elections • Used open data to act as “armchair auditors” and • Live reported from council and planning meetings General Election Coverage: Many of them actively covered #GE2015 /Brexit. • Provided a tier of local reporting mainstream media cannot • Cover – and report from – Parish Council meetings and elections All areas increasingly overlooked by other media outlets.
  19. 19. 2. Campaigning • Brixton Blog’s successful Save the Lambeth Country Show • Hedon Blog’s ‘Hedon Pong’ campaign – saw Yorkshire Water invest £3.5m in odour control + provide compensation in the form of a £50,000 community grants fund Data suggests a third of hyperlocal publishers have run local campaigns
  20. 20. 3. Civic Engagement • Report problems • Engage directly with officials • Rise of civic tech movement
  21. 21. 4. Giving communities a voice Forums engage communities big and small. Since 2002, 180,000 people have produced nearly 7.6 million posts, on over half a million topics, on Sheffield Forum.
  22. 22. Daily stories about life in Spitalfields, East London. http://spitalfieldslife.com/ Focus on human interest stories and ultra-local history. Ambition to author 10,000 posts. “At the rate of one a day, this will take approximately twenty-seven years and four months. Who knows what kind of life we shall be living in 2037 when I write my ten thousandth post?” “Your blog has become a daily joy I look forward to savouring. It’s a bit like a grown-up (and sometimes not-so grown-up) advent calendar. I open it with the same anticipation…” “I love you gentle author. I read Spitalfields Life when my heart is worn. It makes me think of you and how remarkable the beauty. 2037 indeed. Hope I’m here.” 5. Local Storytelling
  23. 23. 6. Providing useful information • Bournville News took public information but presented it in a useful way, producing a map of Birmingham City Council gritting routes in Bournville. “I thought the potential grit shortage might mean that some roads would stop getting gritted should the cold spell continue and knowing which roads were meant to be gritted would be useful knowledge. ‘Will my road get gritted?’ is an easy question to answer since the City Council has a alphabetical list of all the roads that are gritted in order of priority.” (Quotes from Dave Harte.)
  24. 24. 7. Reflecting cultural identity • “Voices from the Motherland” strand on Digbeth is Good • British Library is creating an archive of these sites, to act as a digital record of life in these communities in the future
  25. 25. 8. Promoting civic pride
  26. 26. 9. Plugging gaps Covering geographic areas – like the village of Parwich in Derbyshire – or towns like Port Talbot deserted, or deemed too small / uncommercially viable to cover, by mainstream media.
  27. 27. 10. Old-school local reporting • Traditional news • Sport • Events • Arts, • Links to local services • Property • Food and drink features • What’s on guides All mainstays of traditional local media.
  28. 28. Part 3: Challenges
  29. 29. 1. Core problems remain • Discoverability. • Funding / Commercial Viability. • Sustainability ($ and personnel).
  30. 30. 2. Representation • Collective voice for lobbying, ad buys etc. • LION in the USA. • UK work in progress…
  31. 31. 3. Size of market • No registration / license process. • Sites can quickly come… and go. • Social media only operations also hard to find.
  32. 32. 4. Under-reported impact • Civic benefits • Social Capital • Non-market/content • Conversations elsewhere
  33. 33. 5. Boots on the ground • Automation and outsourcing part of the future. • BUT need to be transparent. • Journatic / Chicago Tribune (2012) how not to do it…
  34. 34. Other issues in the UK • Relationship with the BBC (credits/payment, training, access to archive and more). • Encouraging tech companies to make this content more discoverable. • Union accreditation and recognition. • Insurance and Liability cover. • New Press regulation regime. • Access to statutory notice funds (£45m - £50m ad spend a year) and local health campaigns.
  35. 35. Part 4: Opportunities
  36. 36. “Local and hyperlocal websites can potentially also be good for maintaining local identity and can provide healthy scrutiny and discussion of local democracy and local issues, which is to be encouraged,” stated the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee in 2010.
  37. 37. 1. New voices. New stories. • New entrants to industry. • Stories which would otherwise go unreported. • Better serve information starved communities.
  38. 38. 2. Partnerships • Joint campaigns / investigations. • Two-way story sharing/linking. • Personnel swaps. Sunday, April 25, 2010 Graffiti vandals cost public millions Tim McCarthy, a graffiti ranger for Seattle Public Utilities, paints over graffiti in West Seattle. McCarthy predicted this spot would be tagged again within a week. Seattle Public Utilities spent about $1 million last year attacking graffiti; King County Metro Transit spent $734,000. Photo: STEVE RINGMAN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
  39. 39. 3. Tech enabled content • Served by location (GPS trigger). • News, history, coupons. • Opt in.
  40. 40. 4. Civic Tech • Great source of content / ideas. • Empowers communities + makes a difference. • Embeddable on local sites.
  41. 41. 5. Journalism in new places • WhatsApp and Messenger Apps • News Alerts • Wearables
  42. 42. On-going questions • Role in promoting News + Media Literacy. • Tapping into the public / sensor data explosion. • Drive to Digital Government – how can sector help? • Role in supporting digital inclusion (esp. older audiences). • What is the role of hyperlocal in the journalism ecosystem?
  43. 43. Thanks for listening Questions? www.damianradcliffe.com www.slideshare.net/mrdamian www.twitter.com/damianradcliffe www.linkedin.com/in/damianradcliffe