Hyperlocal, A Rather Different Kettle Of Cocoa

To Broadcasting House for an appearance on Radio 4’s The Media Show to talk hyperlocal.

The peg – the launch of Associated Northcliffe’s Local People, a sort of social network based on locality. The premise – does hyperlocal mean hyper-boring?

In the sceptical corner (actually a radio studio in Spain where he was on holiday) was ex-Guardian editor Peter Preston.

In the ‘hyperlocal is really quite interesting, honest’ corner was Roland Bryan from Associated Northcliffe Digital and me.

You can listen to the results via the iPlayer here – the discussion starts 14’05”. Worth it if only for the first outing of the phrase “kettle of cocoa” on the BBC.


4 thoughts on “Hyperlocal, A Rather Different Kettle Of Cocoa”

  1. I enjoyed that – interesting if not entirely original discussion.

    Hyperlocal’s a good buzzword, but I don’t like how it works etymologically – in what sense are local, community-centric, UGC-populated sites ‘beyond’ or ‘through’ local?

    The cocoa-merchant Preston, and everyone else, are right to be concerned about ‘journalism without journalists’, in the same way that stonemasons were right to be worried about the rediscovery of concrete 300 years ago, and the implications of buildings without stone. Stonemasons are now very rare, high value, always in demand super-micro industry, and everyone else with the urge to chisel away at rocks does it as a hobby only. OTH, the building industry has continued to grow and evolve and introduce new skills and approaches in line with emergent technology. Thither ‘journalism’ in the professional sense, methinks. Exchange of hyperlocal* information online has less to do with ‘journalism’ as a trade, a profession or a career than it has to do with gossip. The overlap has always been there, but the value provided has always been distinct – less so currently than historically, but that’s journalism’s challenge: innovate and re-establish the authority that generates customers (rather than ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ or ‘contacts’). It’s not a right, though, and until there’s a recognised need for somehow ‘better’ information than communities can provide for each other, for free, then ‘journalism’ will struggle.

    *Nope, still not enjoying the term.

  2. Dom – entirely agree that hyperlocal as an excuse to lose the local journalist is a real danger and any newspaper group that hides behind the etymologically-unsound term should be named and shamed.

    Disagree, however, that hyperlocal is more gossip than journalism. It should be a catalyst for journalists and the community to interact and work closer together.

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