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Liz George, owner and editor of Baristanet.com, and Justin Peters, managing editor for the Columbia Journalism Review website, talk about the successes, failures, and future of hyper-local blogging.
'Blogs' have posts with points of view from the people who run them. They can often be 'provocative.' (This can generate more 'mouse-clicks,' and therefore more [advertising] revenue.) Check out hyper-local discussion groups that are more communal in nature. E.g., the West Orange [NJ] Watercooler, a non-commercial venue for conversations and sharing information about our town and vicinity.
I live in Clinton Hill, one of the subjects of the NY Times Local. Initially, they had a Times reporter assigned to it, and while he did some good work, it was clear that he was not a resident of the community, and was often really tone-deaf in his dealings with the local area. Now they have students from some journalism program, and they aren't residents either, and really lacking in professional competence. It seems to me that the Times wanted to do this project on the cheap - really cheap - and it shows. As for "community involvement," it mostly takes the form of bitch-sessions in the comments, often with barely- or not-at-all- concealed race-baiting.
Hyper-local blogging works if it has an audience far beyond the blog's neighborhood borders. I agree that the blog needs to either be genuinely from that community or hood, or have little competition for that community. There's a lot of competition in Brooklyn.
I read the Times City Room, which is bloggy - but also gave up on those two local blogs as being rather bland.
My blog, 66 Square Feet is based on my tiny terrace in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, and concentrates on that tiny paces but then ranges abroad.
The best, very best, very very local blogs:
Bowery BoogieEV GrieveSave the Lower East SideJeremiah's Vanishing New York
The do more than just blog. They help locals address issues of change in the neighborhood.
One local blog in NJ - Barista - has a habit of "borrowing" from The Star-Ledger - where they have real journalists. The notion of "citizen journalists" means somebody doesn't want to pay for real reporting.
i love the following hyperlocal site, which is a UK based grassroots web infrastructure for football teams. developed by wieden and kennedy ad firm
they have really established a wonderful hyperlocal template with this, in my opinion. fascinating.
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