Is This The Future Of News?

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The word hyperlocal comes and goes, and right now, it appears to be back.

CNN has an article today citing that the future of online news may be hyperlocal. They may be right.

Since 2004, when trouble in the news industry started to show, at least 800 community news Web sites have popped up, according to Jan Schaffer, executive director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism. The sites often do a better job at covering community news than large newspapers did, even before the papers started to collapse, she said.

Jane McDonnell, executive director of the Online News Association, said the hyperlocal movement places emphasis on community news that’s written by volunteers who usually are entrenched in their neighborhoods.

The shift “means that there’s less journalistic oversight over what is being disseminated and distributed and created,” she said. “That raises all the natural questions about how valuable the news is going to be — how credible it’s going to be. I kind of think that argument is moot at this point because it’s happening.”

McDonnell said it’s important for news consumers these days to be savvy so they can spot conflicts of interest and assess the reliability of what they’re reading.

Some nonprofit news sites train their volunteers so they have a basic understanding of how to get the facts right and how to report fairly on controversial issues before they publish stories.

I word at a newspaper that does not use the Associated Press. In one respect, those entities might also be considered hyperlocal. However, there is a new trend of bloggers taking their own communities news into their own hands. Personally, I like it.

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2 Comments

  1. Sam Yates said May 5, 2009 | Permalink

    Actually, CNN is right on with the article. For the past six months, I have been researching the media (current and former), businesses, ad and public relations agencies about news venues. Fact is, there’s fewer opportunities to have news, especially business news published. To that end solution, I’ve begun the process of launching a business forum site in every state. The first will be http://www.FloridaBusinessForum.com. Agencies, businesses, and not for profits will be able to upload their news, photos, video, podcastss are no charge. Bottom line, lots of ex-media and agencies will be watching this very closely.

  2. Dan Hutson said May 5, 2009 | Permalink

    In my neck of the woods, the L.A. Times has NEVER done a good job of providing local coverage of the many communities it purports to serve. Its old zoned editions were paper-thin, the old Metro section had a very limited scope, etc.

    Unfortunately, most hyperlocal coverage in the past has been in the form of either alternative papers with a very narrow focus/agenda or throwaways created primarily as an excuse to sell advertising wrapped around glorified press release and photo opp content.

    What we need, and what I think technology is beginning to afford us, is local coverage that actually goes deeper into local issues (schools, business, politics, etc.) in a non-traditional way and truly provides content that will inform and enrich our lives where we are physically present.

    Yes, there will be much untrustworthy material out there (as there is currently with newspapers, radio, TV and the like), but over time some will establish their bona fides and develop trust.

    Volunteer authorship isn’t necessarily a guarantee of low-value content, especially if there are professional journalists helping to shape and educate along the way.

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  1. MediaBot (Media Bot) on May 5, 2009

    NewsTechZilla ♦ Is This The Future Of News? http://tinyurl.com/cwyrbs

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