Category Archives: newspaper

Hyperlocal blogging: News Where You Are

Not necessarily the most interesting type of news it is true. Sometimes you don’t need to hear about the neighbourhood kids vandalising some trees, or the little old lady who is missing her cat. But beat blogging has brought local news back in vogue.

Glyn Mottershead outlined two strong examples based around South Wales. The first is the South Wales Argus from Newport. The most popular story in the last year was not to do with sport, or redevelopment or even the New York/Newport parody song.

It was regarding the information about school closures during the period of heavy snow. It was acting a local service to Newport people to inform them about important news in their area. It was there for them when they needed a community centre and they needed it instantaneously.

The second is the Guardian’s local Cardiff blog, run by Hannah Waldram. The blog displays news, details of upcoming council meetings, the opportunity to contact your councillors and the ability to report any problems.

These are the details that people really want to know and discuss with other local people. In a time when many complain that our sense of community is dissolving due to a growing global network online, these local news blogs are proving exactly the opposite.

Online journalism: You can’t always get what you want

This week Joanna Geary, Community and Web Development Editor at the Times spoke on the importance of engaging with the reader.

In some respects her views were similar to those of Rory Cellan-Jones, the reader is not always interested in the most news worthy story. Online journalism is often measured in how many views or hits a story gets – the assumption being the more hits, the better the story. But Geary reminded that if we continually wrote to get reader hits all our stories would be about  poker, porn and kittens.

These searches are only representative of the gossipy, human-interest strand of the human psyche said Geary, that, although important to recognise, is not representative of the reader as a whole.

Geary also noted that this strand of of the psyche is not something readers will usually want to reveal and may even be ashamed admit. Therefore if you ask a reader what they would like more of on a news website they may say more hard-hitting political writing, when they would actually rather read about Will and Kate’s upcoming wedding.

The solution that Geary presented, and what they are aiming to do at the The Times is to strike a balance between what the reader says they want, what they actually look at and what the brand stands for.  But how do we do that? Perhaps as Geary suggests:

“We need people experimenting right now”