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‘Hyperlocal’ websites, the news outlets of the future?

At work today the head of our MR department shared a very interesting New York Times article with us – “‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers” link.  This article describes a new wave of Web-start up companies that are creating a whole new idea of the news as we know it.

Now what is a ‘hyperlocal’ site you may ask?  Well don’t worry I asked myself the very same thing.  ‘Hyperlocal’ news sites are website that allow users to choose their location and read the news happening right in their area.  The news is often links to articles and blogs as well as local data that would be of interest to dwellers in that specific area.  Most of these sites do not have their own journalists, but rather gather their information from other sources- definitely not your average news site.

Now I deeply love newspapers and hate to see the demise of print news, but these websites might be onto something.  We have already seen the immense growth of social media and the legitimacy of blogs and tweets as sources of news, so why not sites customized to your specific region?  Now I do not think all news as we know it is gone and lost forever but especially for local news, this might just work.

Currently most of the sites are only offered to the top U.S. cities.  Now as I reside in Cleveland, there is not information currently available (surprising I know), but I did play around on EveryBlock stealing a friend’s Chicago address to use for my trial run and I was very impressed by what I saw.  When using Wrigleyville as my location I learned of a dead goat found hanging on the Wrigley Harry Carey statue, 2 real estate listings, 1 theft, some business reviews and new business licenses, all from toda- April 13.  There was also an archive of previous days news, in case you missed your local fix over Easter weekend.

Although not the international, in-depth news we all love and enjoy from traditional news sources, these new ‘hyperlocal’ sites provide customized, up-to-the-minute news that meets our need for knowing what is going on right now.   Although still in the very beginnings of growth, I predict these sites will soon become forces to be reckoned with.

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