The Internet affords cheap, easy access to priceless information. But local news coverage is a casualty of its rise.
Damian Radcliffe's insight:
"It would be nice to think that citizen journalists could simply step into the breach, empowered by the tools the web provides. Perhaps that will occur in future years more than is now the case. But show me a local newspaper that has laid off a significant number of editors and beat reporters, and I'll show you a city where a lot of institutional knowledge, built at great cost over many years, was suddenly, perhaps irrevocably lost; where even skilled citizen journalists have a hard time filling the breach, because unlike local newspapers they aren't backed by an lawyer on retainer to sue when the city attorney won't fill the public records request, and they lack institutional heft to secure access to officials who can ignore Jane Blogger a lot more easily than a broadsheet that prints daily editorials, endorses candidates, and has institutional authority."
Airbnb launched new neighborhood guides today. These "Neighborhoods" pages are photo-heavy portraits of a place's streets, people, stores, and coffee shops, aimed to match a traveler's interests with specific parts of larger cities. Rio de Janeiro, New York, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Paris, and Washington, D.C., were included in the launch.
Hyperlocal sites are having mixed results with their crowdfunding efforts, despite the abundance of crowdfunding sites to choose from including IndieGogo, Razoo and long-established journalism specialist site Spot.us.
Charlotteseville Tomorrow successfully raised $7,094 with its kickstarter campaign for a very well stated project: “Help Cville Tomorrow build 3D models of the U.S. 29 Western Bypass and see the plans in a way we can all understand!
Media organizations need to blow up and re-engineer the ways they gather and distribute news, and the way they do business.
“In news, it’s really, really hard to make money on advertising unless you’ve got at least 10 million unique [viewers] a month,” Gingras said, adding that he specializes in product development rather than the advertising side of Google’s business. (Google News does not currently put ads on its homepage).
What about hyper-local advertising? As in, you’re reading your news site, and up pops an ad for a 2-for-1 at the local pizza place, or discounted movie tickets at your neighborhood theater, or clothing sales down the block?
Gingras agreed that in theory, news organizations could do a better job of targeting their ads to local markets.
“But even if they had the targeting signals … if you’re that local restaurant or car dealer, what’s the value proposition of having your ad in the news publication versus the 18 other ways you might try to generate customers? I’m not saying there’s no value, but it’s a tricky one.”
The Local Audit and Accountability Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech yesterday (Wednesday) is to “tackle town hall pravdas” and “deliver the Coalition Agreement pledge to impose tougher rules to protect the independent free press from unfair competition by town hall newspapers and propaganda.”
The Bill “would strengthen the legal status of the existing Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity, which some councils are currently ignoring. Healthy local democracy requires robust scrutiny by an independent local press.”
Commenting on the Bill, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “This government is reining in the quango state, saving taxpayers’ money and giving more power to local people. This bill extends the government’s localism agenda - ensuring robust scrutiny of council spending, strengthening the role of direct democracy and protecting an independent free press.”
A Toronto-based media website Newsana is opening public beta testing today; it is a social platform for news junkies that curates the highest quality content possible, as voted on by its users.
From "FAQ" page:
"Newsana is an community of passionate people who are dedicated to finding and discussing quality news and ideas from around the world. Our members share and vote on their favourite stories which determines the Top 5 Essential Stories of the day from a variety of topics.
It’s not new to have a community based on finding and sharing news, but only Newsana creates a community for quality minds to share quality content.
This is done by:
- Filtering out the noise. We provide members with an easy guide to the Top 5 Essential Stories per topic, not a shotgun blast of information that’s impossible to keep up with.
- Elevating the conversation.
- Higher standards. We don’t have an open door policy; our members must apply and show they are passionate about making the Internet a better place.
By focusing our activity on finding Top 5 Essential Stories in any given topic, we’re bringing much-needed context, and smart conversation, to the often chaotic online news landscape.
In order to maintain that quality and make sure our community standards are upheld, we require that everyone who pitches a story is a Newsana member..."
Edited by South London born and bred broadsheet journalist Kate Burt, most recently commissioning editor of The Independent Magazine, the site will focus on the arts, lifestyle, food and people, roughly following the curve of the Thames “from Stockwell to Deptford.”
Journalists from two weekly newspapers were denied access to a West Croydon public meeting last week, after council chief executive Jon Rouse said their presence made him“uncomfortable” and that it was “going to be a very different meeting if the press are here.”
Following a vote held by members of the West Croydon Community Forum, established in the wake of last year’s riots to help restore the community, two reporters from theCroydon Advertiser and the Croydon Guardian and a writer for hyperlocal website Inside Croydon were all asked to leave.