Hyperlocalism of Bluffton Today

Posted on June 7, 2006 
Filed Under Journalism

Steve Yelvington says what’s missing from the pages of newspapers is community or “hyperlocal” coverage.

“The consumption of news is directly related to civic engagement,” says Vice President of Content and Strategy at Morris Digital Works.

He adds that because communities are not getting the coverage they merit, the reasons for people to care about real news are being undermined.

Yelvington’s experiment is a smalltown paper called Bluffton Today which provides each citizen with his/her own blog and space for their own photos.

Bluffton Today’s 18 staff “interact with the community, through the website as well as through more conventional channels” resulting in a “virtuous circle” in which “community conversation feeds professional journalism. Journalism feeds conversation. And around, and around.”

Yelvington reassured the editors at the World Editors Forum that citizen journalism was not replacing the work of professionals but the two can work symbiotically.

How?

1. By enabling the community and the newspaper to discover things it doesn’t know about itself.
2. By organizing the community into even smaller niche interests.
3. By becoming a better watchdog of local institutions.

By covering the “interests and passions of people in the community,” Yelvington stressed that readers continually come back to the paper, be it in print or on the website, making Bluffton Today more effective than conventional online newspapers.

[via Editors Weblog.]

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