In this guest post, Damian Radcliffe highlights some topline developments in the hyper-local space during 2011. He also asks for your suggestions of great hyper-local content from 2011. His more detailed slides looking at the previous year are cross-posted at the bottom of this article.
2011 was a busy year across the hyper-local sphere, with a flurry of activity online as well as more traditional platforms such as TV, Radio and newspapers.
The Government’s plans for Local TV have been considerably developed, following the Shott Review just over a year ago. We now have a clearer indication of the areas which will be first on the list for these new services and how Ofcom might award these licences. What we don’t know is who will apply for these licences, or what their business models will be. But, this should become clear in the second half of the year.
Whilst the Leveson Inquiry hasn’t directly been looking at local media, it has been a part of the debate. Claire Enders outlined some of the challenges facing the regional and local press in a presentation showing declining revenue, jobs and advertising over the past five years. Her research suggests that the impact of “the move to digital” has been greater at a local level than at the nationals.
Across the board, funding remains a challenge for many. But new models are emerging, with Daily Deals starting to form part of the revenue mix alongside money from foundations and franchising.
And on the content front, we saw Jeremy Hunt cite a number of hyper-local examples at the Oxford Media Convention, as well as record coverage for regional press and many hyper-local outlets as a result of the summer riots.
I’ve included more on all of these stories in my personal retrospective for the past year.
One area where I’d really welcome feedback is examples of hyper-local content you produced – or read – in 2011. I’m conscious that a lot of great material may not necessarily reach a wider audience, so do post your suggestions below and hopefully we can begin to redress that.
We run a hyperlocal site for Alderley Edge in Cheshire which has a population of about 5,500. The site has a monthly audience more than twice that figure. Here is our 2011 review [http://bit.ly/tKGYmD] which also includes some interesting stats as well as covering our most read hyperlocal articles of 2011.
Brilliant – thanks Martin!
Absolutely first class presentation which I’ve forwarded on to our own hyperlocal at http://www.tettenhall.co.uk in Wolverhampton and also to others such as http://www.wv11.co.uk in the area.
Have also passed it to the local NCTJ course students and tutor.
Talk about knowledge being power… anyone who uses this information properly has the world of hyperlocals at their feet in my opinion.
Interesting to see that another regional press paywall at the Wolves Express & Star has bitten the proverbial dust today
Instead they are charging for smartphone aps.
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I run a hyperlocal news aggregation service in Leeds which took over from the Guardian Leeds experiment that ended in May last year. We highlight stories in local press and events that should get more coverage, producing a collection of links (and a little editorialising) every weekday since. I’m happy to talk about Beyond Guardian Leeds until the cows come home 🙂
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A great bit of info – I’m just looking at setting up a local community newspaper, I am absorbing the information on the web about the challenges and success of hyper-local. Any recommendations of good local community written online papers?
Mark – you may want to look at the work of the Hackney Citizen for an example of a print product with a hyperlocal slant.
Colin – first of all, many thanks for your very kind comments. As you know, they’re much appreciated.
Mike, I’ve just pinged you a line to organise an overdue chat. Thank you for getting in touch.
Podnosh, hopefully my reply came through – do check out: http://monteigueldo.wordpress.com/ – for an example of a ultra hyper-local blog covering a single street in Spain.
Street Fight, I think some of the content examples in the presentation *do* cover smaller operators, as do some of the comments here (which was part of the rationale behind this post). But, I take your point that I could include more. Suggestions always welcome!
Mark, as Ross says do look at Hackney Citizen – for print examples, Leys News (http://www.leysnews.co.uk/) and the Echo (http://www.echonews.org.uk/) are both well established print products, although I’m not sure if you are looking to go down that route.
For online first examples, try: Northwest Voice (owned by the daily newspaper, the Bakersfield Californian) which launched in May 2008, taking the best of its Web site and putting it in print every other Thursday. Lawrence.com, in Kansas is now online only. It ran a mixed print/online model until 2009, whilst closer to home I know that HU17.net, which covers Beverley, also has a weekly print version…. hopefully there’s a few useful pointers to get the ball rolling.