#FLcommunityjourno 2

Week 2 done and dusted. FWIW while the content is pretty much fine, if not exactly testing the little grey cells, my reactions regarding the platform and the tone are the same as for before. Maybe it’s the FutureLearn ethos that irks me.

This week looked at the different ways people consume hyperlocal news, types of content, how to get organised and how to make the most of social media. 15 steps, the first of which is a 37 second video which has attracted 44 ‘comments’ so far. Is it me?


From Ofcom research:

  • 90% of people access local news on a regular basis, with TV the most popular source but 1/3 via the Internet
  • local classified advertising (motoring, jobs, property), one of the key ways local news makes money, has fallen victim to the Internet, via Google and other sources
  • can local media generate revenue via the Internet?
  • voluntary hyperlocal is important in making local news available
  • the citizenship element – bringing people together around specific issues and areas, sharing skills
  • delivering public purposes, impartial news and citizenship outcomes -> Creative Citizens project (blog, no RSS; article on the scale of hyperlocal publishing)
  • identifying success factors and sharing best practice

Networked Neighbourhoods’ typology plots the perceived level of civic purpose and breadth of contributors/level of interactivity; citizen led vs commercial, identifying eight types of hyperlocal (Welsh accent here) and corresponding types of content:


Equally relevant to other sorts of community, an aspect not touched on this week.

From Nesta research (summary | Destination Local):

  • what will work? different models, for technology and the business model
  • a local platform can be used for more than news – exchange or sharing economy, time banks,posting tasks, can keep people engaged
  • currently driven as much by the supply side (local media, councils, mobile companies) as demand – the landscape of provision vs the landscape of advertising
  • what shared community resources do we really need? can you combine functions, create co-ownership?

Discussion…I could paste the below into the 326 and counting long thread, but what is the point?

  • How do you access and consume local news? From a multitude of local papers stuffed into the letterbox. These explode in size during the spring as house buying season starts, but then wane in the summer as any form of activity other than hygge stops for a minimum of a month. Local TV is woeful. Occasionally on Twitter (pulled via search, ie during the storms) and Facebook (pages I follow, eg the library).
  • Has this changed? Yes, I never felt the need for local news before, although Reporting Scotland (not local, friends!) and the Granada crowd were always fun.
  • What are the implications for creating and sharing content? I’m not aware of any hyperlocal scene in Denmark, although I have links to review. Often lauded for the level of democracy, on the ground there is an closed network of decades old structures (societies, committees) run by foreningsdansker. We are compelled to pay DK 200 a year for some local institution which seems to exist merely to have an annual meeting to check everyone has paid their DK 200. The level of civic awareness seems low – another often lauded Danish value is the level of trust, translating to a mute acceptance and lack of questioning of officialdom. Although you do get irate people writing letters to the local rag.

Whose voice gets heard? Is the loss of local media is leading to a ‘democratic deficit’, where communities are no longer engaged in local politics or decision making in their area? Can hyperlocal sites help to address this problem? How far does the content of community journalism sites fulfil the political role of traditional media?

RADA style presentation from Andy Williams on his research into the value of hyperlocal news content. Slides not offered, but can run through vid stopping as appropriate:

  • the democratic value of hyperlocal news – the news as a source of information for citizens, as a watchdog, a fourth estate, as a mediator or representative of communities, as an advocate of the public
  • local news industry in crisis, meaning no longer fulfils above roles
  • studied 2000 posts on Openly Local during 11 days in May 2012, tracking topics (community, politics, sport, crime/legal, business/industry, environment/nature, entertainment/leisure) and who gets to speak (local politics, business/commercial, member of public, community group, police, sportsperson, culture/arts), ‘localness’ of source
  • largest category – local community activities, esp non-political interest groups, higher than in mainstream local news; but not political activists
  • next up – information about council activities, esp official sources and public authorities
  • tone – not much diversity, little disagreement -> not increasing accountability or acting as a watchdog
  • hyperlocal conveys local info of community and political concern and represents communities back to themselves, promoting community cohesion
  • on other democratic roles, such as campaigning and watchdog journalism, the jury is till out

The Nesta stuff is the most thought provoking. The research into hyperlocal content seems to show it is filling a gap in supplying stories but not developing into anything particularly innovative. News, heck…KBHFF and other resource sharing initiatives are perhaps more groundbreaking.

Practice and essentials

Up this week:


  1. According to Ofcom research, 90% of people in the UK access local news.
  2. The Caerphilly Observer produces 10,000 newspapers a fortnight.
  3. Approx a third of the Caerphilly Observer’s clickthroughs come from Facebook.
  4. Members of the public and community groups are more important to community journalism than they are to mainstream local news.
  5. Two advantages of producing a print version of your community news service are it reaches those without Internet access and is appealing to advertisers.

Twitter and #some

Dropped off  like the proverbial…couple of tweets noted: x faves too.

EvansTheCrime is getting stuff out of the forum, it’s good it works for some, but we’ve had the first #FLcommunityjourno irony: hyperlocals are looking for engagement, rather than linear…

Do wonder if community by geography really works. Community approaches maybe work better for interests, cf Living Streets, expats…this issue is touched on by Robert Mills.

Apparently Google hangout and Twitter chats are planned, but they’d get on with it. Plus, this is organiser led again – I just want a forum where I can find my own links, search etc.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s