Hyperlocal

How mobile devices are creating hyperlocal opportunities

EveryBlock’s recent resurrection raises hopes that digital media efforts can help stoke interest in hyperlocal news. Focusing tightly on Chicago neighborhoods, EveryBlock connects users to information about crime, civic developments and calendar events – down to the block level – and brings neighbors together to talk with each other virtually. By narrowing its audience, EveryBlock provides an example of  … Read More

Why is local news innovation struggling financially while national thrives?

On the national level, we’ve seen an exciting burst of investment and innovation in digital news. The New York Times crowed that “Web News Is Thriving,” the evidence being that Ezra Klein, the wonk’s wonk, is starting an explanatory journalism venture at Vox Media. This comes soon after the news that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is doing a massive $250 million investment in a new journalism project. And the success of BuzzFeed, Upworthy and Huffington Post has showed that content oriented sites can be business successes. But the headlines are bleaker when it comes to local news. With a fresh round of layoffs, Patch has now purged three-quarters of its workforce. Main Street Connect, a platform for local news that got much attention a few years ago, filed for bankruptcy in May 2013. Read More

In EveryBlock's legacy, the promise and limits of hyperlocal success

Hyperlocal news and community discussion site EveryBlock closed Thursday, as NBC News announced it struggled to become profitable and was not a "strategic fit." The closing was a surprise to everyone outside the company, and many people immediately began discussing the journalism and technology legacy of EveryBlock and what, if anything, might succeed in its wake. Dan Sinker, head of the Knight-Mozilla OpenNews project, says "we’re all living in Everyblock’s world now": The impact of Everyblock goes far beyond the traffic to the site itself. Everyblock is one of those ideas that bent the world in a new way when it came around. One of those ideas that felt both so obvious and so ingenious simultaneously, that it looked *easy* when it was anything but. Back when it launched in 2008, the idea of arcane civic data being of use to regular citizens didn’t really exist. The idea of geolocation-based information gathering didn’t really exist. The idea of (shudder) “hyperlocal” information at the street-level didn’t really exist. And yet today, five years later, these ideas are commonplace thanks in large part to Everyblock proving that they were possible and vital. Read More