New trade group for hyperlocal news sites won’t include Patch

Street Fight | Vouchification
A group of 20-some hyperlocal news publishers around the country decided at last week’s Block by Block conference to form a trade group to provide business services such as liability and health insurance, sales training and revenue studies. Mike Fourcher, who runs Center Square Journal in Chicago, told Street Fight’s David Hirschman that the function, members and name of the organization are still in flux, but one thing isn’t: It won’t include corporate networks like Patch. “They have a completely different set of needs, and we’re not interested in serving their needs,” Fourcher said. Hirschman’s take on the group: “While previous incarnations of hyperlocal have focused more on journalists serving their communities than on CPMs, the launch of this group seems to further indicate that publishers are thinking about their sites as revenue-generating entities.” || Related: 15 Chicago-area community news sites create an advertising network (Nieman Journalism Lab) | Michele McLellan describes ‘newspaper replacement syndrome’ and other challenges facing independent publishers (Poynter)

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  • Denise Civiletti

    It’s unfortunate the take-away in coverage of this development is the new group won’t include Patch. The real story here is that independent hyperlocal news publishing is a viable business being conducted by thousands of professional journalists in communities across the United States. We’re forming a trade association to advance our common interests. Many of those common interests are not aligned with those of AOL’s Patch (or any other “local” news effort undertaken by large media companies, including endeavors such as “Neighbors” by Focusing all attention on the exclusion of Patch may further the audience-building efforts of a site like “Street Fight” (whose name says it all, really) but doesn’t advance the important conversation about the future of community journalism. That future, in my opinion, is closely tied to to the continued viability of the “news entrepreneur” business model of the publishers at BxB11, who took the first steps to form the group.

    That’s the real story in journalism today, not some hyped-up “street fight” between indies and corporates.