Hyperlocal news is hot.
As newspapers shrink, more people turn to the Internet for information and easy-to-use online content management tools flourish, hyperlocal news ventures are popping up everywhere.
In advance of my presentation on hyperlocal news at Digital Journalism Camp tomorrow in Portland, I’m putting together a list of resources that might be helpful if you’re contemplating writing for one of these ventures, or starting one yourself.
What is hyperlocal news? It’s coverage of current events happening in a community written and published entirely online. How you define coverage, events and community varies. Right off the bat I can think of hyperlocal news ventures that cover:
- A city or town
- Individual neighborhoods within a city or town
- A specific industry, topic or subculture within a given city or community
- A multi-state region
The “news” part of hyperlocal news also varies. Some hyperlocal ventures operate like newspapers, covering local government as a civic watchdog, as well as publishing other news, features, entertainment and sports. Other hyperlocal ventures zero in on a specific topic, like biking or books.
Some hyperlocal ventures are hybrids, like The Portland Sentinel, which will be represented on the Digital Journalism Camp panel. The Sentinel publishes news about North and NE Portland daily online and puts out a print edition once a month.
Some hyperlocal news sites are one-person operations that look, read and act more like blogs than newspapers, with stories and posts that with a strong opinion and point of view. Others adopt a more neutral tone and look more like traditional newspaper Websites.
Here are some resources for starting a hyperlocal news site:
- GrowthSpur – A just-announced venture started by journalist, entrepreneur and WashingtonPost.com co-founder Mark Potts. The start up will provide tools and services to “that will take a lot of the guesswork out of starting or running local sites and turn them into successful, sustainable businesses,” according to Potts’ July 30 announcement.
- Outside.in – Another start-up, with a tool called Outside.in for Publishers that creates “an out-of-the-box hyperlocal news section for your website.”
- EveryBlock – Hyperlocal news blog operating in 11 major cities, with four more in beta tests.
- Placeblogger – Blog platform and directory.
- Patch – Hyperlocal blog platform builder created by team of media industry veterans.
Here are some resources for keeping tabs on hyperlocal news ventures. If you know of others let me know and I’ll add them.
- Knight Citizen News Network Directory of Citizen Media Sites – Listing of 800 hyperlocal news sites in the United States, with an interactive map and downloadable Excel spreadsheet. (This is not up to date because there’s nothing listed in Oregon.)
- HyperlocalBlogger.com – Covers developments in the hyperlocal news business. Check out their series, Starting a hyperlocal blog.
- Hyperlocal news sites listing – From Hyperlocal World, British-based blog that tracks all things hyperlocal.
- WikiCity – The city wiki project hopes to create a location-based blogroll directory to will serve as a list of hyperlocal news sites.
- BlogCatalog – Lists about two dozen hyperlocal blogs.
You can follow the hyperlocal news panel discussion and other sessions at Digital Journalism Camp on this conference feed.