As HyperLocal emerges as a key trend for Media in 2010, The Guardian’s Mercedes Bunz has a nice piece discussing the momentum of HyperLocal going into 2010, and highlights some concerns as well around local news reporting.
Large Media Companies acquire HyperLocal startups in 2009
Bunz first highlights key acquisitions of HyperLocal startups by larger media companies in 2009. Specifically:
- AOL bought two local startups with Patch, which brings local news to communities, and Going, a local event listing platform
- AOL’s big rival, MSNBC, acquired the hyperlocal aggregator EveryBlock
- CNN is investing $7m in the aggregator Outside.in
- The Clarity Media Group of billionaire Philip Anschutz, who owns the local news network Examiner.com acquired the citizen journalism site NowPublic
Google and HyperLocal
Of course, Bunz also mentions recent moves by Google in HyperLocal, which I’ve discussed extensively on this blog. Here’s what Bunz has to say about Google and HyperLocal:
If you’re still not convinced, look at Google. Today an increasing number of consumers use their PCs or mobile phones to find local products and services, and quite a few recent developments at the search engine giant took that into account. Apart from Twitter’s integration into Google with the option to get to know what is happening around you at any one point, Google offers Goggles, a mobile video and image search aimed at local information. In addition, it is testing Favorite Places. It has identified 100,000 businesses in the U.S. who receive a window decal with a unique QR code to be scanned with a phone handing out customer reviews.
And what of HyperLocal reporting?
Interestingly, observes Bunz,
If you take a closer look, you quickly figure out that the actual hyperlocal investment is mainly business-related. … But while the business side is taken up, the reporting side isn’t.
As the editor-in-chief of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger, said earlier this year, we face a “collapse of the structure of political reporting”. While businesses get their favourite place on Google, there won’t be any reporting on councils, council committees and the courts. This may mean corruption and inefficiency go unreported.
Despite all the investments above, local news still needs to be supported.
Top Hyperlocal News Sites – A list
As I was writing this post, I also stumbled on a nice listing of top HyperLocal news sites (not from the Guardian).
In Summary …
Look for a lot of innovation to happen around HyperLocal in 2010.
I previously blogged about The Guardian’s Open API strategy. Today, let’s have a look at the New York Times.
New York Times Open API Strategy
While this is a somewhat innovative strategy for a News organization, it’s a classic Web 2.0 strategy, pioneered by the likes of Amazon and Google. This is an inevitable outgrowth of the emergence of the Web as a Platform, and the Open Business Models and Value Chains that it enables. It’s going to force traditional News Media companies to make some tough discussions, as The Guardian’s Martin Belam points out in his post MPs expenses, The Telegraph, The Guardian, and the ‘open’ and ‘closed’ models of 21st century journalism.
So in a nutshell, the New York Times and The Guardian are making their data open to the public to build Mashup applications. In the case of the New York Times Article Search API, here’s one example, where someone took the raw article data, and created a visualization of the most popular topics for NY Times articles from 1985 to 2001. This may seem like a rather cheesy example, but the possibilities are profound, as suggested by the post above by The Guardian’s Martin Belam.
Nothing too profound here. Just wanted to point out that the New York Times is also incorporating Open Data into its business strategy. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.
Ho hum. Just more great material from The Guardian’s Martin Belam. With the rise of Google, Search has become a cornerstone of the Web. Here’s Belam’s archive of all things Search at The Guardian.
There’s a whack of good content here.
Holy moly! What an embarrassment of richness … The Guardian’s Martin Belam’s blog posts that is. Here’s a set of links to a series of posts by Belam on the Navigation labeling strategy at 9 National UK newspapers:
- Navigating newspapers: Part 1 – We are what we label
- Navigating newspapers: Part 2 – Mapping primary navigation
- Navigating newspapers: Part 3 – A question of sports
- Navigating newspapers: Part 4 – The ‘red tops’ and the ‘middle market’
- Navigating newspapers: Part 5 – The ‘quality press’