Hyperlocal Journalism

24 MB MP3

Hyperlocal journalism. We’ve wanted to hit this for a while, since realizing what a great talker Lisa Williams is, since seeing Rob Curley, formerly of the Lawrence, KS Journal-World, speak at a conference and change our world. Lisa covers Watertown, MA, just Watertown. The LJ World covers Lawrence, KS, just Lawrence, for example tracking little league teams as if they were the New York Yankees.

Follow-up: Interview with Ed Remsen

Ed Remsen, Mayor of Montclair, NJ, couldn’t make the show, but followed up with a conversation about Baristanet, a hyperlocal blog based in Montclair. Ed has been logging in to the blog himself to defend his policies in the comment threads. Read the full writeup here.

For a definition of “hyperlocal,” check out the entry on Wikipedia.

See our del.icio.us tags radioopensource+hyperlocal for a collection of links to hyperlocal website.

Lisa Williams

Blogger of H2OTown

[In our Boston studio]

Dan Cox

Director of New Media for the Lawrence Journal-World.

[On the phone from Lawrence, KS]

From Brendan’s pre-interview notes

If you look at a newspaper, it’s likely you get only one, so our newspaper needs to be a definitive source, from not only our community, but our world. On the web, most likely, ifyou’re on the web, you’re going to many sites, there’s this concept of not trying to out-CNN CNN. What do we do really well. Where do we have reporters on the ground, we have reporters who are covering it, our idea was to do what we do best.

If you take us as an example, there’s no real true metric for measuring how things have changed, but you can get real measurable results looking at the dialogue in the comment threads.

We’ve got a section called “on the street,” targeted question, ask four people gets a response, photo, the resulting dialogue that happens, we’re at 67 comments, get to 200, sometimes spirals out of control.

No registration, no mandatory registration, need to register for this, most sites have switched over, hit page two

Been there three years, but this company has always been forward-thinking, pushing concept called convergence, own a public broadcast news tation, converged media, have always beene willing to push the limits, no significant fallout from using free online, no barriers, finest local site possible.

Liz George

Co-editor of Baristanet, a hyperlocal blog covering Montclair, New Jersey

[On the phone from Montclair, NJ]

From Brendan’s pre-interview notes

Get hits from msnbc, tv, newspapers, sometimes they’re just looking, also local government, acting governor.

Far more personalized to the readership, far more interesting. We cover a lot of the things that the local paper might cover, but quicker, don’t have allegiances that the local papers do.

Local papers do have a wider advertising base, in terms of restaurant, real estate, we’re a little more gossipy, not afraid to talk in disparaging terms, people like the format, like the way it is, it hasn’t really come up.

Getting on to the site is like coming into a coffee shop with a cast of characters that are piping up, talking about different issues that are affecting the community, it’s a media-savvy story, people have a relationship to it, would cover, have a lot of New York times

writers, magazine writers, coming into this area where anything that’s happening, when you go to the coffeeshop and overhear something, this taken to the nth degree, blown out a bit so you’re getting all that informaiton, feel special that they’re getting it from journalists.

It’s a lot more fun, it’s snarky, sarcastic, really varies, but we have a lot of fun with it, april fools, the site was an onion-esque parody of itself, on a day to day basis, observing suburban oddities, factually, it’s journalistic, sarcastic, sometimes snarky tone, toying with things, a humoristic slant,

Have run out of ad space, have a lot of real estate, a lot of home-improvement based organizations, home decor, restoration painting, landscaping. Nothing national, just hasn’t happened yet, web design, photographers.

Fielding ten ad inquiries a day. A lot of it is word of mouth, 100K, really not advertising anywhere, a lot of the businesses that we end up writing about.

Recently had a developer, was the subject of a lot of scorn, responded, the mayor comments, tries to fend off his attacks, spars with other people, you’re always complaining, he’ll clarify, we’ve taken these steps,

We’ve put people on notice more than a newspaper would. Letters to the editor are printed, this is immediate. People don’t think it’s kosher it’s right out there. Changed the dynamics for local politics.

When I write for the daily news, I have a deadline, whenever the story is done I send it off and that’s basically it, it has a different feeling, the tone is completely different.

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