Does the New TribLocal Deserve Time Out Chicago’s Trash Talk?

I’ve looked at what Journatic has produced at TribLocal — it’s only editing the print version of the Chicago Tribune-owned suburban hyperlocal network so far — and it’s not worthless garbage…

How Hyperlocals Should Handle User-Generated Content

There was a recent media kerfuffle when the Nashville Tennessean ran two un-bylined articles produced by publicists at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Was that a no-no? We asked Jane Stevens to explain what works and what doesn’t when sites, as they should, turn to their audience for articles and other content…

Can Bloodied Patch Pull Off a Digital ‘Rocky’?

Patch could compete more effectively if adopted a community-faced news strategy. Instead of building a Ptolemaic news gathering universe in each community centered on one young, inexperienced, overwhelmed reporter-editor, it should set about recruiting regular reporter/contributors who know their communities inside and out…

Hyperlocal Start-Ups Say They Can’t Measure Their Engagement. Huh?

Independent hyperlocal news sites are busy trying to get their users fully engaged, but they say they can’t measure how well their strategies are working. A new study from J-Lab at American University finds that nearly eight in 10 news sites “could not measure whether their engagement strategies were also converting readers into advertisers, donors, content contributors or volunteers.”

NJ’s TAP Grows Indie Hyperlocal Network Through Licensing

Under the licensing program, participants pay a $2,500 fee in their first year, $5,000 in year two and $10,000 in year three, plus 10% of their ad revenue. Alternative Press publisher Mike Shapiro says a licensee, “after the three-year ramp up, should bring in $50,000 to $100,000 in income (after expenses have been taken out for licensing fees, freelance, ad commissions, marketing etc.).”

Will AZCentral’s Big Leap Into Hyperlocal Be Model for Other Newspapers?

The launch of 17 hyperlocal sites in metro Phoenix is just a start. After its initial move in five Scottsdale neighborhoods and 12 in the East Valley, the site aims to plant its flag in scores of communities through the two-county region, which has a population of 4.2 million…

How Hyperlocals Can Burn In Their Brand

How important is branding to hyperlocals? I put the question to a handful of editors, publishers and other leaders of hyperlocals that are successful or are headed in that direction. What’s interesting, and reassuring, is that they were are in basic agreement: branding is important, it has to be earned, and audiences wield the iron that burns in the brand…

Citizen Journalism: Ready for a Rewrite

Citizen journalism can be reinvented to help communities not only become better informed but better places to live. The question is, are community sites ready to take the lead in reinventing citizen journalism to produce a 1 + 1 = 3?

Journatic’s ‘Darth Vader’ Takes Lightsaber to TribLocal

Brian Timpone, the founder and CEO of Journatic, is a destroyer. And that’s a good thing because community journalism needs entrepreneurs who will clean out the stubbornly resistant vestiges of 20th century “best practices.” Too much of community journalism is built on an outdated model where one reporter is the Ptolemaic center of the news-gathering universe….

Big Brands and Hyperlocal Sites: A Matchmaker Gives the Lowdown

Size matters when national advertisers look at hyperlocal sites, but not that much. That’s what I got from a phone talk with Bryan Quinn, vice president of publisher strategy & operations at Cox Digital Solutions. CDS — the combination of Cox acquisition Adify and Cox Cross Media in January 2011 – is the middleman between advertisers as big as Walmart and Target and their agencies and local digital sites of all varieties…

Tribune Hands Off TribLocal to Data-Rich Journatic

Old-media Tribune Company’s decision to invest in new-media startup Journatic, and let the fast growing content production company take over operations – but not ownership – of its TribLocal hyperlocal network, isn’t just about cost-cutting. Journatic has the resources and — just as important — the vision to use data to drive editorial content, all the way down to the neighborhood level…

How to Engage Hyperlocal ‘Hard’ News Enthusiasts

Hyperlocal sites shouldn’t look at hard news as journalistic broccoli. The challenge is to serve up hard news appealingly – to connect it with each user’s gut-level self-interest. This means giving users the space to talk about their news enthusiasms. It’s not always enough to ask, “What do you think?” Sometimes a site has to offer a prompt…

Indie Hyperlocals Can Escape ‘Doom’ By Banding Together

Over the next few years, I think the word “consolidation” will end up being attached to more stories about hyperlocal than “doomed.” In Sacramento, the region’s hyperlocals have been very serious about consolidation since the creation of the Sacramento Local Online Advertising Network in December 2009…

Chicago Indy Ad Network Shutting Down After Poor Sales

The Chicago Independent Advertising Network is shutting down six months after it opened for business. Business manager Mike Fourcher wrote: “I am disappointed that it has come to this conclusion, but the old saying is, ‘When sales are good, everything’s good.’ Sales were not good, and therefore neither was publisher interest.”

Will Wash Post Take Another Run at Hyperlocal Under John Temple?

After crashing and burning in Northern Virginia’s highly competitive hyperlocal space in 2009, it appears that the Washington Post is again looking for a way to get back into the game in its local markets. The big, signifying tea leaf is the Post’s appointment of John Temple as managing editor for local news…

Smartphone Optimization Tips Every Hyperlocal Should Know

Mobile is the commanding new digital experience. App-rich smartphones are rapidly transforming our daily lives, and it’s become vital for publishers and media companies of all sizes to create mobile products that satisfy consumer demand. What does this all mean for hyperlocal news sites, which have largely been focused on perfecting the digital experience for the desktop? Amy Gahran, senior editor of Oakland Local, shares her insight…

After Shuttering, Village Soup Serves Up a Living Digital Legacy

Less than two weeks after Village Soup was abruptly shuttered, the print and digital mini-conglomerate of Midcoast Maine is being resurrected. The company’s new owner, Reade Brower, who publishes Midcoast’s Free Press, praised the Village Soup publications, and said he wanted to return them to the public as intact as possible.

Do Datasphere’s 50M UVs Make It a Model for Hyperlocal Scale?

What Datasphere excels at is scaling, with superb technology — and, of course, finding that sweet spot between the aggregators and high-cost editorial operations. Is this the future of hyperlocal? The 50 million unique visitors to their TV stations’ community sites have provided a kind of answer…

DataSphere Lands $8 Million in Additional Funding

DataSphere Technologies has raised $8 million in investor financing to continue growing its business, which creates and maintains community websites for TV stations owned by Gannett, Meredith, and other major “legacy” media companies. The company’s 1,900 community and neighborhood sites now reach 50 million unique visitors monthly…

Advertisers, Agencies Force Chicago Indy Ad Network to Regroup

The 15-site Chicago Independent Advertising Network has discovered it’s just not big enough. How many more partners does it need? “Dozens upon dozens,” says chief organizer Mike Fourcher, founder and publisher of Brown Line Media, which consists of three, soon to be four, North Side neighborhood digital publications…