Hyperlocal: So What’s Going On In Your Backyard?

Hats off to the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism which is attempting to audit all the hyperlocal projects ongoing in the United States.

The project is led by Professor Jeff Jarvis, best known on this side of the Atlantic for his regular Guardian column and his BuzzMachine blog.

 Jarvis and his team are asking “bloggers, independent journalists, web site publishers and entrepreneurs” to complete a survey that in turn will enable them to:

find out how hyperlocal blogs and sites are doing their business today – how big they are, how big an area they cover, what’s working in advertising and what’s not.

The initiative forms part of the School’s wider New Business Models for News project.

We want to bring facts, figures, and business analysis to the debate over the future of journalism.

It’s an admirable piece of work and begs the question, what’s happening in the UK to meet this pressing challenge?

While public service broadcasting wrestles with local news delivery – and Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report merely brushes the surface of the alternative delivery debate – the proponents of hyperlocal need to seize the day.

Certainly, there are some interesting projects out there – Paul Bradshaw’s Help me Invetigate has plenty of local franchising potential, for example.

And there are some preliminary efforts to pool expertise, such as William Perrin’s Talk About Local.

But it still doesn’t feel very joined up – that’s the challenge of hyperlocal, I guess.

In my Journalism.co.uk column this week I’m going to look at the steps we need to take to kick off this revolution in local news.

Guidance, advice, suggestions very welcome.

Taking The Micheal. (Did You Mean ‘Michael’?)

Loads of stats around on Michael Jackson’s death last week and the subsequent surge in web traffic.

For example, Twitter’s audience reached an all-time, high claiming 0.24% of all US internet visits on Friday (that’s one in every 417). Similar stellar stats in the UK (0.23% share).

The big website winners were Wikipedia, Google News and the site that broke the original story TMZ.com, a Hollywood-focused celebrity site that picked up 1 in every 1,100 UK Internet visits last Thursday.

But my favourite stat from Hitwise is this: the third most searched Jackson-related phrase was ‘Micheal Jackson’.

Basic spelling, it seems, is no barrier to online greef (spl?).

Related: Guido, Jacko And Miliband’s Phantom Tweet

G20, YouTube And The Three Phases of Amateur Video

On a day the police have come under fire from Parliament for their handling of G20 summit protests, are we witnessing another step-change in citizen reporting?

According to a post on YouTube’s own blog, uploads from mobile phones to the video sharing site jumped 1,700% in the last six months. More staggering, uploads have increased 400% a day since the release of Apple’s iPhone 3Gs. 400%?! Continue reading G20, YouTube And The Three Phases of Amateur Video

Old Media Doesn’t Die: Daily Telegraph, Guardian And MPs’ Expenses

A quick plug for my new column for those nice people at Journalism.co.uk.

First up, an assessment of the old and new media coverage of MPs’ expenses a week on from the heavily redacted Parliamentary disclosure.

In essence I argue that these occasionally bitchy arguments between proponents of ‘proper’ journalism and those who champion collaborative journalism are largely bogus:

Nothing demonstrates the laziness of the ‘winners and losers’ legend more than the domestic news story of the year – MPs’ expenses. Here we have seen the best of old and new media, one feeding off the other.

Anyway, you can read it for yourselves here.

This should turn into a regular gig, a weekly look at where media and technology meet. Next week? Who knows. Have a good weekend.

Guido, Jacko And Miliband’s Phantom Tweet

Political blogger Guido Fawkes is having much fun at the expense of big media. Again.

This time it’s the supposed Twitter tribute from foreign secretary David Miliband in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death.

According to copy sourced from the Press Association, Miliband apparently tweeted: “Never has one soared so high and yet dived so low. RIP Michael”

Except he didn’t. It wasn’t true and a little routine research put that lie to bed. Continue reading Guido, Jacko And Miliband’s Phantom Tweet

Five Ways News Organisations Should Use Twitter

Rule nine of the Twitter playbook says don’t talk numbers. The only person who cares how many followers you’ve got is you and this craven attention-seeking is likely to backfire – followers soon stop following.

Sod rule nine. For now, at least.

I want to mark the fact that @channel4news has broken through the 10,000 barrier.

It happened sometime on Sunday, a quiet day in the Twittersphere – the downtime between the height of the Iran crisis and the Commons Speaker-fest.

And as I no longer work for Channel 4 News and these are not my numbers any more, I can’t be accused of indulging. Much.

And anyway, it’s an excuse to re-tell the story of the feed, aka Newsroom Blogger. Continue reading Five Ways News Organisations Should Use Twitter

Fraser Nelson, Political Blogger

Fraser Nelson, for the uninitiated, is the political editor of the Spectator and is one part of the very readable collective blog Coffee House.

Despite the gifts of the other contributors, he’s the undoubted star of the show. He instinctively gets the form.

Take his campaign to get Gordon Brown to come clean on Labour’s spending/cutting commitments. Nelson was the first to identify cuts dressed up as investment buried in Alistair Darling’s budget.


Continue reading Fraser Nelson, Political Blogger

How Twitter Left Google News Trailing Over Iran

So this is what we think we know – after the Sichuan earthquake and the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, the aftermath of the Iranian elections marks the latest coming of age for Twitter.

As a vechicle breaking news and real-time updates the microblogging site has once again shown it can leave the 24-hour news networks in its wake. 

Sure the rolling news channels (notably the late-to-the-story CNN) and the papers do an invaluable job curating and repackaging much of it but the raw material and the original narrative belongs to Twitter.

But what’s really interesting is not the battle between Twitter and the established media but between Twitter and its online rivals. 

Some fascinating number-crunching by Heather Dougherty of Hitwise reveals that one in four people searching for “Iran election” headed to the microblogging service.

The figures are for the week ending 20 June and the data is US-only but the results are significant: this is the first time I can recall Twitter beating Google News in a straight race.


Continue reading How Twitter Left Google News Trailing Over Iran

Million Up For Apple 3G iPhone And Dell’s $3m Twitter Windfall

This is my kind of blog. Digital Stats does exactly what it says on the tin – it is a collection of “interesting and surprising statistics about digital media and devices”. 

It doesn’t try and do anything else. Just that. Which is probably why it is one of 5% of blogs that survives beyond the initial burst of enthusiasm (*see below).

Continue reading Million Up For Apple 3G iPhone And Dell’s $3m Twitter Windfall

Is The Investigations Fund A Solution To The Crisis in Journalism?

Following in the footsteps of ProPublica and the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, Europe has its first foundation dedicated to “support independent journalism”.

The Investigtions Fund boasts an impressive cast list including investigative journalist Nick Davies, freedom of information campaigner Heather Brooke and intriguingly Peter Barron– formerly deputy editor of Channel 4 News and editor of Newsnight, now Google’s comms director.

Continue reading Is The Investigations Fund A Solution To The Crisis in Journalism?