WAN-IFRA

A publication of the World Editors Forum

Date

Thu - 30.03.2017


hyperlocal

Welad El Balad
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Fatemah Farag, Executive Editor of Welab El Balad Media Services, has introduced a new kind of media in Egypt: hyperlocal weekly papers that are accountable to their readership and allow their readers to be part of the editorial process.

Last year’s revolution unleashed tremendous energy that led to a flood of political debate. “You now can’t go anywhere without being engaged in political debate,” she said, in contrast to the apathy and lack of concern under the former government. She was speaking at the 19th World Editors Forum in Kiev last week.

Traditional news is in deep crisis, Farag said, as years of malpractice have come to the fore. And the provinces, which had for many years been marginalized in national news, took centre stage.

All these factors have led to an explosion of new initiatives, from new publications to graffiti, to puppet shows – any way to express ideas.

Welab El Balad’s response has been to produce very local, community-based newspapers with a low cost business model. A print product is essential, Farag said: “what is legitimate, what is credible, is print.”

The three pillars of journalism that the papers aim to uphold are respect for truth, respect for the citizen and respect for humanity.

The company produces four weekly papers, in four different communities across Egypt:

Author

Emma Goodman

Date

2012-09-12 19:13

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There was a time when “local” and “sustainable” were most often seen together as buzzwords for ethical vegetables; lately, these virtues are just as likely to be paired in conversations about digital news platforms.

Local news is experiencing both crisis and renaissance: as industry upheaval continues to swallow up metropolitan and regional newspapers (a site called Newspaper Death Watch sprouted up in 2007 to track the North American casualties), some of the journalists being turned into the streets are putting their ear to the asphalt, listening carefully, and participating in the online reincarnation of neighbourhood reporting.

Today’s column by the Guardian’s Roy Greesnslade, headlined “Local news crisis: look what journalists who know their patch can achieve,” offers an excerpt from a book by political correspondent Les Reid (What do we mean by Local?), in which Reid celebrates the community value of local coverage. He emphasizes local reporters’ abilities to scrutinize their politicians from close-up, and points to the opportunities offered by the Internet in terms of information-gathering, publishing space, and live coverage.

Author

Emma Knight

Date

2012-06-22 18:18

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The New York Daily News tabloid has launched a new online section which seeks to appeal to the city’s South Asian residents, paidContent reported.

The new section, called “Desi,” features South Asian news curated for an American immigrant audience, including stories about Bollywood, cricket and politics, the article said. The stories found on Desi are a mixture of original content and articles from the digital newswire Newscred, the article said. As we previously reported, Newscred filters content from more than 750 sources around the world, creating personalized bundles of online content for publishers.

NY Daily News Digital Senior Vice President Steve Lynas told paidContent that according to research conducted by the newspaper, second and third generation immigrants demonstrated an interest in South Asian News, but presented through an American lens.

Lynas also said that culture is more of a factor in determining what news people are interested in, implying that the notion of local news in general can be redefined, the article said.

“I don’t see a zip code as a good filter for community,” Lynas told paidContent.

Author

Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-23 12:55

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Yesterday, Brian Farnham announced that he would be stepping down as editor-in-chief of Patch to pursue other start-up ventures, according to his blog post. Farnham, who spent four years at Patch, will be staying on as a member of the Patch advisory board, the post said.

Patch, a network of hyperlocal news websites owned by AOL, launched in 2009 as a platform for local communities, as previously reported. Each Patch site serves a community of 20,000-50,000 people and has a full-time editor, freelancers and bloggers.

Farnharm says in his post that his reasons for leaving are not “negative,” despite recent editorial changes. In February, AOL hired Rachel Fishman Feddersen as chief content officer of Patch, Reuters reported.

Reuters reported, “While Feddersen's role is still being defined, she said she sees her job as crafting a cohesive strategy that takes the elements of what works best locally and weaving those principals into coverage across Patch's network of sites. Essentially, she's looking for a bottom up—not top down—content strategy.”

Author

Gianna Walton

Date

2012-04-12 17:25

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UK publishing group Extra Newspapers announced Wednesday that it will be launching its first three hyper-local newspapers for the towns of Corby, Wellingburough and Kettering in Northamptonshire, according to a press release.

Extra spent 14 months researching and developing the newspapers, which are “designed to appeal to the traditional newsprint reader as well as the younger, digital savvy readership,” the release said.

Each newspaper will begin circulation in April at 10,500 copies and will cost 50 pence apiece.

Editor Judith Halliday emphasized in the release that the communities themselves will be the focus of each publication.

“Extra aims to prove that small and local can be beautiful,” she said. “We will be right there on the corner with the local community—watching, reporting and sharing all the news.”

Members of the respective communities are invited to contribute news and opinions to the paper as well, the release said.

Managing Director Stuart Parker explained in the release that, before now, Corby did not have its own local newspaper.

The Corby Extra will give Corby what it wants most of all and that’s a voice across the community,” he said.

Author

Gianna Walton

Date

2012-03-23 17:29

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AOL can be proud of The Huffington Post. The ever-expanding blogging and news aggregation platform opened up in France last month, and is soon set to launch in Spain and Italy as well.

But not all of AOL's media properties are such model children. In 2007 AOL founder Tim Armstrong co-founded the hyperlocal news network Patch, but the $145 million AOL has put into the company after purchasing it in 2009 has not yet been recuperated. In fact, according to Reuters, RBC Capital Markets analyst Ross Sandler estimates that Patch has made a total loss of $150 million. Business Insider estimated Patch's losses last December somewhere around $100 million.

Media analyist Ken Doctor, quoted by Reuters, assess the situation: "Patch is underperforming. It is halfway from where it needs to be in terms of revenue and user experience".

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Author

Emma Goodman

Date

2012-02-10 19:00

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When AOL bought the Patch network of hyperlocal news sites in 2009, it made a gamble. Towards the end of 2011, it looked like that gamble was not paying off, or at least not as quickly as the internet giant had hoped.

However, according to a press release published today, the number of unique visitors to Patch sites has more than tripled between December 2010 and December 2011.

Business Insider reported last month that it estimated the hyperlocal network had lost about $100 million over the last year. This was despite Patch's target for its first sites to reach profitability by the end of 2011. While a Patch spokeswoman flatly denied Business Insider's figure, reductions to Patch sites' freelance budget last October and the fact that the company was encouraging its editors to work more closely with sales people could be see as a sign that the hyperlocal network was coming under financial pressure, even though Patch President Warren Webster insisted that the changes were not driven by financial conditions.

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Author

Emma Goodman

Date

2012-01-12 10:35

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Since October of this year, The Guardian has been nursing a fledgling online project in private beta testing; now that project is ready to be unveiled to the world at large.

The Guardian's community notice board, logically called n0tice, has now entered public beta testing and is available for the public to use. The service has been billed by many as the paper's attempt to branch into hyperlocal media; the notice board was described by GigaOm as "part blogging platform, part Craigslist, part communal Twitter stream, part forum, part event listing", yet it still manages to be something akin to the traditional community notice board.

The idea is that users join the network and create their own message boards, the appearance of which can be customized according to the user's preference. The user can then post details of upcoming events, share news and advertise things for sale. n0tice is structured by locality, so those users in a similar area will be able to see the content of all the message boards close to them. In this way, the service operates as a sort of Everyblock-style information sharing operation, with a bit of Craigslist-style hawking on the side.

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Author

Katherine Travers

Date

2011-11-16 13:45

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The Alternative Press is demonstrating that not all New Jersey hyperlocal initiatives are doomed to the same fate as InJersey.

Founded in 2008, The Alternative Press (TAP) was kicked off after Mike Shapiro's one-year-old son survived a risky open-heart surgery. As a result, Shapiro decided to leave his job as an attorney in Manhattan to build a career promoting social good. The site was born later that year, aiming to be a community resource that provides "high quality, objective, non-partisan, hyperlocal news and information." It has been attracting readers and expanding into New Jersey communities ever since.

The site allows some community involvement: readers can submit guest columns, community events, and press releases. However, freelance journalists produce the bulk of its content. They are paid from $25 to $60 for their contributions, and TAP now boasts nearly 200 of these journalists spread amongst its 15 communities.

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Author

Florence Pichon

Date

2011-07-18 18:33

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