Class Notes: Hyperlocal Journalism

Elements of Hyperlocal Coverage

All news outlets should aim to cover the basics, because the basics are filled with good stories that people care about:


•Crime, fire, disaster

•Government and politics



Being Effective with Hyperlocal
•Reporting for everyone. All elements must be covered. Not just sports, not just crime, not just politics, but ALL of it! Someone cares about what you write!
•What if the stats don’t show everyone cares? So be it. But just know that proper balance in journalism is covering everything and being fare with story budgets. i.e. even if you think high school volleyball won’t get many page views, the coaches, parents, athletes and school officials appreciate the coverage and sometimes that means more than anything.
•Consistency with reporting … it’s one LARGE beat. It’s pounding the pavement and being a presence in the community you’re covering. It’s being the journalistic face of the coverage area.
•Man on the street: Everyone has sometime to say. Get them to say it. Reaction pieces are some of the most powerful pieces in a community. We all want to know what our neighbors think and feel.
•User help, crowd sourcing and generating content from your audience is extremely important when trying to hit a wide variety of demographics within the community.
•Sometimes you just don’t know about a story until you ask people for their input. That communication and level of transparency is invaluable at times.
•Relate large and small events with national exposure to the local level.

-How did Hurricane Sandy affect everyone in your community?

-Did anyone from your community run in the NYC Marathon?

-Is anyone in your community originally from Boston or a big Red Sox fan?

-Does anyone in your community know anyone at Sandy Hook Elementary?


Carve Your Space and Make It Count

•Assess the competition: Does anyone else cover what you cover?
•How can you do it better and different?
•Assess your digital game: what can you do that you learned in JRNL 10 out there in the real world and can it be effective for an entire community to benefit?
•Is this worth your time? Can you create a brand? Can you get sources? Can you get story ideas? Will the stories one day flow in and this be something concrete and tangible?
•Start small, and grow big. Educational stories about positive things in school buildings are good, but parents want to know about test scores and state testing standards. Profiles on politicians are good, but tax payers want to know why their streets aren’t plowed during snowstorms when they pay their taxes. ALWAYS go to the next level for the better story that effects more people.
How Does Business Overlap?
•More than any other media platforms and format, hyper local journalism has a connection with how the business staff or side of things works.
•Because journalists are out in the field and talking to business workers and owners, they have a first hand opportunity to talk about advertisements, to share their platform, possibly for money, possibly for barter agreements with signs in windows or possibly content.
•You’ll need to finance your project probably, so having these people on your side will be key.