Posts Tagged ‘hyperlocal’
Approaching the topic with a huge dollop of scepticism that one man could in seven bullet points give the hidden secret causing so many online publishers constant fury, I actually came away pleasantly surprised.
Now I’m not promising seven steps to millionairedom – but Miles Galliford, co-founder of SubHub.com, gave seven bite-sized easily-digestible ideas which might help towards getting some petty cash to make a website not-for-loss. Read the rest of this entry »
With hyperlocal publishers coming to Cardiff for the Talk About Local Unconference tomorrrow I thought I’d expand on idea which I flouted in the TAL11 Google group.
‘Should hyperlocal blogging have to be a lifestyle choice?’ is a question I’ve been mulling over since someone raised the point at the Demark hyperlocal conference I attended in February.
Bjarne Hansen has been running Bornholm.nu for ten years with much success, He’s making a living off the blog, and he has become somewhat a local news celebrity on the island. When asked by an attendee if he felt like the blog had taken over his life he said ‘yes, most definitely. It’s a lifestyle choice’.
The Danish hyperlocal scene is sprouting new sites throughout the country – with roughly 100 sites creating firm roots as hyperlocal contenders to regional newspaper giants.
When we talk about hyperlocal here, it’s worth pointing out after speaking to a number of Danes on the subject it’s clear they mean local news or community run news blogs and websites – as opposed to hyperlocal blogs in the broader sense of a website covering any topic (horses/tractors) for a geographical community (see Philip John’s excellent post exploring the definition of hyperlocal).
The annual conference run by research institute Update has been exploring issues around hyperlocal news blogs for a while.
Yesterday the conference took place in the second largest city in Denmark, Aarhus – home to one of the three main journalism schools in the country – the Danish School of Journalism.
Around 40 regional journalists gathered to discuss new developments on the local scene – you can catch up with the rest of the programme using Google translate here.
Much of the conference was in Danish – with questions and debate around my presentations in English for my benefit.
But it was still it was possible for me to digest a little from some of the other speakers at the event – so here’s a short fix of the morning presentations from three hyperlocal publishers in Denmark – if anyone (Peter, Kasper I’m thinking of you) reads this and thinks I got the wrong end of the stick please comment and I’ll update the post. Read the rest of this entry »
It seems timely that the week Martin Moore publishes this post on the difference between the US experimentation and the UK conservatism on the hyperlocal scene, I learn the UK comparison to Danish counterparts is far less terrifying – turns out we’re much the same.
This week I went to Aarhus in Denmark on invitation by Peter From Jacobsen from Update – the research institute attached to the Danish School of Journalism. The institute holds an annual conference which has been running for six years and more recently has been exploring new developments in hyperlocal journalism.
I spent day one exploring the journalism school and speaking to Peter about some of the findings from his research in regional journalism in Denmark – and the picture is similar, as far as I can gather, to the UK.
This is all based on a very glossed-over view of what’s taking place – but the general themes of uncertainty in regional newsrooms over how to respond to hyperlocal is much the same. Local papers want to enter and participate in the hyperlocal sphere but are unsure of the best route to do so without losing time and money – or the best way to engage or compete with existing sites. The feeling of local media not wanting to offend hyperlocals and vice versa is purely British.
But Danish titles are grabbing the bull by the horns and getting stuck in with hyperlocal – and some interesting projects have emerged from unique partnerships between independent publishers and overarching regional arms.
One of the most interesting from my point of view is a project Jacobsen is involved with recruiting local people as citizen reporters for very small geographical areas who will work from an embedded paid ‘professional’ reporter from regional paper which serves a bigger area. The project is in collaboration with regional newspapers.
This reporter works with eight or nine community reporters – holding bi-monthly news meetings and they then upload stories to the site.
Peter and the journalist build up a formal network of citizens who have an interest or passion driving them to learn how to report local news. Peter gives them a manual with a short ‘how to’ of local journalism online and nurtures their abilities and use of the technology over email.
Soon the stories start flowing in, with those with a regional appeal going on the the paper. Peter said the ‘citizen reporters’ tend to be 35-year-old women who are very active in the community – and all is done voluntarily with no payment.
The reporters do get awards for the best stories, and a subsidised fee for the local newspaper. When asked about the potentially problematic idea of getting local people to do journalism which could be for the paper for free – Peter told me this really isn’t an issue in Denmark – it seems only the British are the ones really worrying about the implications of community contributors submitting content out of a compassion for their community.
As for the Danish School of Journalism itself, UK lecturers would be interested to know it essentially does the same thing – but in a far cooler building, which is light, well designed and full of pot plants. The online module is still a separate part of the course and lecturers are trying to work out how to integrate it into the core skills teaching.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting a blog looking at some specific examples of hyperlocal blogs from the conference.
One of the first things I did when setting up hyperlocal blog BournvilleVillage.com was to look at a local map of the ward area’s electoral boundaries.
Within the first few weeks of posting up blogposts of news and events in the area, it was evident maps and geolocation tools were integral to the internal mechanics of hyperlocal blogging.
I knew my ‘patch’ from the angles of road junctions, local landmarks by how they looked when I passed them on my way to work, the size of the park by the length of time it took to walk around with the dog, and where my house was in relation to everything else – a map of our local area is woven into the fabric of our day to day lives. Each story’s meaning to the reader is bound up with its geolocation – every line of each post had a longitude and latitude in her mind built through memory.
This post on gritting routes in Bournville written by Dave Harte included a few pars and a map showing the priority gritting routes for the council in times of snow and icy weather. Within minutes the post attracted a comment from a local asking what exact boundaries were considered Bournville – whether roads from neighbouring wards Cotteridge and Shirchley could not be included because many residents considered them part of ‘Bournville’ – location, for hyperlocal publishers and readers, is pumped with emotion.
Maps are part of the very idea of hyperlocal – but when is it best to use them to help illustrate a story – and when is merely adding the name of the road or postcade area enough for residents to get a geolocal grip on the content?
I’m preparing a blogpost on mapping tools and tips for hyperlocal publishers and would welcome your comments and ideas to feed into this practical guide – with perhaps some comment on how maps have been used so far and what should be avoided.
In a couple of weeks I’ll also be running the first Cardiff Students Social Media Cafe where we’ll be looking specifically at using mapping tools to illustrate or tell a story.
Indeed, one of the first things I think about when looking at how big media and local blogs are using maps is often that they are used in completely the wrong context – as a tokenistic nod towards data visualisation.
When used in the right way the map is the medium through which the story is told – or is a portal for readers to add to the story.
Which are your favourite tools for mapping and what are they good for? What stores lend themselves to a map, what problems can be solved with a map? When should we use maps in hyperlocal reporting and when have they worked well/not so well. Leave your comments below and they will feed into my future blogpost and workshops.