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Sustaining Hyperlocal News: An Approach to Studying Local Business Markets

February 24, 2012 in Experiments, Resources, Revenue

The ‘money problem’ for news organizations has remained unsolved for decades, and even more so for hyperlocal news organizations. Though our latest how-to guide, “Sustaining Hyperlocal News,” attempts to show and encourage hyperlocal publishers to conduct proper research and explore multiple revenue opportunities, it is by no means an ultimate solution…

It’s really like learning to ride a bicycle – I can write a comprehensive book about riding a bicycle… I can go into details about the physics of momentum, the mechanics of human brain and the function of balance. But at the end of the day, reading this book simply won’t guarantee success when you pedal away for the very first time. In fact, I bet you will fall several times before you get it right.

With that said, I think there is an aspect to this money problem that is similar to riding a bicycle. You can read our cookbook many times over, but when it’s time for you to make that sales pitch, you need to be a skilled salesperson and not an academic (this is why in our cookbook, we also recommend hiring a full-time salesperson).

There is definitely an artistic aspect to the process of creating revenue, just like writing the content is an art in itself. There are few guides that touch on the technical part of writing, but you will ultimately develop your own unique tone and style. In the same manner, I believe that you will develop relationships with your hyperlocal audience and business owners over time in your own unique way.” Source: Local Fourth

Linking Audiences to News: A Network Analysis of Chicago Websites

September 16, 2011 in Community, Distribution, Resources

A new report for The Chicago Community Trust analyzes news flows in Chicago and provides a thought-provoking analysis of the city’s emerging news ecosystem and the roles of key information providers and sharers. It also shows the potential power of Web savvy community news start ups and nontraditional information providers as a new news environment takes shape.

This latest report is “Linking Audiences to News – A Network Analysis of Chicago Websites” (pdf) by Rich Gordon, professor of digital media at Medill, and Zachary Johnson, CEO of Syndio Social.

Together with last year’s News That Matters, a survey to determine how news Chicago residents actually define their information needs, the Trust research is a refreshing departure from more traditional research frames that focus on institutional providers of information without fully connecting them to what consumers actually receive and what they say they need.

In the dynamic local news environment, it’s impossible to predict the shape of things to come. But this report clearly signals the emergence of institutional information sources (the local transportation agency, the museum) and micro local news start ups as key players.” SourceMichelle McLellan, Community Information Needs