This is the third post in our series from the C&binet conference on what the government should do about hyperlocal. Highly developed in the US, Rachel Sterne from GroundReport presented four types of hyperlocal news models.
Whether networked or single locality journalism, hyperlocal start-ups all have some sort of editorial position and a hierarchy and production system which favours skilled editor roles. The voluntary start-ups often have an authentic and raw feel, but can be inconsistent in maintenance (thus professionalism) and attract small audiences. Hyperlocal sites which have a media parent, such as the recently launched Guardian Local and Associated Press’ Local People sites provide an instant audience, content pool, and access to the technology and resources, but can lack innovation which is prohibited by the internal politics of the media legacy of the publisher which need to be followed.
Models from the US showed how giving content providers (who write and upload articles voluntarily) a platform to publish content rewards them with being pitched next to writers on a site which give them credibility and an impetus to work hard. Similarly deputised editors will work on the basis they feel privileged to have access and control over content. GroundReport and The Huffington Post are good examples of this.
The final slide in the presentation on hyperlocal models shows government funded sites while delivering high quality of coverage would gain limited audience and less sustainable.