Hyperlocal journalism and TBD: More coming on what makes a great ‘hyper’ site

imageNope, TBD and affiliate bloggers, I’m not done yet.

I have a few other ideas to try out this week—based on the failures and successes of  hyperlocal media outside the D.C. region. Why is a local blog network thriving, while the New York Times’ network couldn’t score big in the same geographical area?

And in a separate post, I’ll elaborate on a few insights which the publisher of the Upper Westside Independent kindly shared with me. That’s the well-done, civic-minded site written up here earlier.

Psst! If people at the Washington Post Company are reading this, may these ideas also be helpful to L Street—including my thoughts on why the Times couldn’t cut it.

imageMeanwhile happy Fourth of July to to everyone. The holiday-weekend photos are from one of the sites I’ll be analyzing. I’ll snail a free trade paperback of The Solomon Scandals to the first person to figure out the source of the photos without prompting. Anyone able to? Write me at davidrothman@pobox.com, with the subject line of “Hyperlocal photos. “

Scandals isn’t about hyperlocal journalism per se, but with vigorous grassroots blogs around, life would have been much happier for certain of the newspeople in the novel, as I’ll explain in yet another post. I’ll also tell why the kind of investigative journalism in Scandals is in some ways rather obsolete (or needs to be—making the book all the more relevant today). Whether in journalism, love, bathtub-gin-making or any other part of life,  you can’t repeat the past. That goes for companies, too, not just individuals.

image Related: I’m pleased that my old paper, the Lorain Morning Journal, briefly mentioned in fictionalized form in Scandals, is getting more serious about the blogosphere. Here’s a preview of “Potholes & Seagulls: Stories and opinions from Lorain Ohio,” created by OSU journalism graduate Sam Flores (with the Journal’s encouragement). The Flores blog will be among the Journal Register Company’s blog affiliates. Earlier I shared some very detailed thoughts on how the Journal could provide hyperlocal coverage in the era of Google. Also see the Journal Register Company’s page on the Ben Franklin Project intended to “reinvent journalism” and TBD Community Engagement Director Steve Buttrey’s supportive post on this and related initiatives.

image A Franklin video is intended to popularize the new approach—including “independence” from overpriced software—among the chain’s employees. Appropriate for July 4th. The Saratogian, a Journal Register paper in New York state, created it.

Update, July 5: Check out links, too, at Mediagazer, which has just linked to this post. Thanks, Gazer. Yes, it is significant to see a newspaper chain “open” in the open source sense as well to closer ties with the blogging community—and more of a reader-driven approach. Also see Jeff Jarvis’s Buzz Machine blog and related posts.

Update July 6: Here’s a YouTube with more details of the experiment with the free software. Also see blog entries by Saratogan Web Editor Steve Shoemaker (listing the software substitutions) and Managing Editor Barbara Lombardo. The software substitution was experimental, but ideally it will encourage more of the same on a permanent basis.

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David Rothman

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