Right in Your Neighborhood

Mike Fancher, former executive editor of the Seattle Times, makes a very interesting point about the future of local journalism:

“Have the community at the center of everything you do…Bring people into your thought process. Get the benefit of finding out more precisely what their news information needs are, and be in a real partnership with them. And for Heaven’s sakes, take advantage of their intelligence, their knowledge of the community and their ability to help you create better journalism. I think that would be a very important starting point.”

This is what hyperlocal journalism prides itself on.

Hyperlocal journalism, sometimes called microlocal journalism, refers to coverage of events and topics on an extremely small, local scale. An example might be a website that covers a specific neighborhood or even a particular section or block of a neighborhood. It focuses on news that would usually not be covered by larger mainstream media outlets, which tend to follow stories of interest to a citywide, statewide or regional audience. For instance, a hyperlocal journalism site might include an article about the local Little League baseball team, an interview with a World War II vet who lives in the neighborhood, or the sale of a home down the street.

Philadelphia Neighborhood

Early on, hyperlocal journalism was hailed as an innovative way of bringing information to communities often ignored by local newspapers, especially at a time when many news outlets were laying off journalists and reducing coverage. Even some large media companies decided to catch the hyperlocal wave. In 2009 MSNBC.com acquired the hyperlocal startup EveryBlock, and AOL bought two sites, Patch and Going.

Patch.com has been growing ever since it’s start up, and is now present in 16 states. I wouldn’t be surprised if more sites like Patch.com started sprouting up. People like knowing what it going on in their town..their neighborhood…even their block, which is why there is a need for more hyperlocal journalism.

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