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.


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