posts about or somewhat related to ‘local’

The Kickstarter Chronicles →


Pitching media projects to this online community brings another meaning to the concept “public interest journalism”; success depends on how intrigued people are by the pitch. From the hugely popular to the barely noticed, CJR’s Kickstarter Chronicles is a look through some of these journalistic proposals.

1. The Enthusiast

“A bazillion internet years” (or eight human years) ago this week, Josh Fruhlinger thought a daily blog of criticism and commentary about newspaper comics would be a good way to keep his writing skills sharp.The Comics Curmudgeontook off, allowing Fruhlinger to quit his tech editor job and focus on his freelance career, writing for outlets such as Wonkette, The Awl, and ITWorld.

Now he’s giving fiction a go, with his first novel, The Enthusiast.

Fruhlinger says the money raised will bridge some of the gaps between self-publishing and the traditional model, paying for an editor, a designer, and upfront book costs. The rest will be used as a sort of advance, allowing Fruhlinger to turn down freelance gigs and dedicate as much time as possible to writing his novel. Though he’s already hit his goal, he welcomes additional pledges, which he’ll use to market the book and commission an illustrator - possibly comic strip panels drawn by the some of the comic strip artists whose work inspired him eight years ago.

2. Local: A Quarterly of People and Places

Daniel Webster (no, not that Daniel Webster) recalls sitting on the banks of the Susquehanna River and wondering what to do with his recently-acquired MFA in creative writing. An idea he had years ago resurfaced: a magazine that explored one small town per issue. It’s called Local: A Quarterly of People and Places, and for its first issue, the focus is on Jersey Shore. No, not that Jersey Shore. This one is in Pennsylvania, home of infamous bootleggers, an old pajama factory, an alternate Declaration of Independence, and a historical society that counts among its collection a crown made out of human hair. 

Webster says a successful campaign will enable his team to produce their first issue which, he hopes, will bring enough advertisers, subscribers, and bookstore buyers on board to keep Local going. 

Read on for more details and to see their videos.

Move Over Tote Bag, There's a Tablet in Town →

Forget getting irrelevant swag with your newspaper subscription.

Via Adweek:

Publishers, desperate to prop up their legacy print business, have been scrambling to put their content on tablet devices. Now the Philadelphia Inquirer and its sibling Philadelphia Daily News are making what may be the boldest tablet push yet.

On July 11, the two papers plan to announce a pilot program under which they will sell Android tablets with their content already built in at a discount. Icons on the tablets’ home screen will take users to digital replicas of both newspapers as well as a separate Inquirer app and, the papers’ online hub.

And here’s something for Philly-based news hackers:

[Greg] Osberg, a former worldwide publisher of Newsweek [and current CEO and publisher of Philadelphia Media Network], has made it his mission to speed the digital revolution at the Philly papers, which last year became the latest newspapers to go through bankruptcy. To that end, he’ll also be announcing an incubator program that’ll embed tech startups at the company to help it develop digital products. Later this fall, will introduce paid, premium content on the site, and a hyperlocal news channel.

I am SO sick of this argument. Local is important. People want local. But Local is not national or global, and when it’s constantly compared to those of course is falls short. Is that because it’s a failure? No, it’s because the whole world doesn’t live on your block.

When we started Metblogs in 2003 no one gave a shit about local and over the next few years people started paying more attention, but always because they expected it to be the next national thing, which it will never be, since it’s local. I’ve written about this numerous times where we’d butt heads with advertisers and affiliates who wanted numbers that just didn’t exist, and would then walk away when suddenly there weren’t 10x the population of a city reading about it.

There are just over half a million people in the city of Nashville, 1.5 million in the metro area. You want to run a campaign in Nashville but are going to be disappointed if you don’t get 4-5 million views to it? You are on crack. If a campaign in nashville gets 250K views - a full HALF THE POPULATION of the city, that’s fantastic. Local numbers are only low because they are *constantly* compared to national and global sites which is just stupid.

Oh really, this site about a city with half a million people gets less traffic than Facebook, obviously it’s a failure.

Stupidest logic ever.

Local is important TO THE LOCALS. It’s useless to non-locals which is exactly how it should be. On a side note, it’s hilarious to watch company after company dump cash into the wrong efforts for local and then panic and give up. AOL has done it twice now, I’m actually shocked that they didn’t seem to learn *anything* from their failed attempts at local with Weblogs Inc. Patch sucks because *actual* local sites, and *actual* locals know it’s just the front of some outsider trying to capitalized on them and isn’t actually invested in anything local. Meanwhile billions of local sites around the world continue to run perfectly fine because it’s a group of people writing about the neighborhoods and communities they live in and aren’t gauging their success against traffic to sites like twitter.

Meet the 2011 Knight News Challenge Winners. Combined they will receive $4.7 million to develop their innovations.

Via Knight:

The ideas come from leading Internet entrepreneurs including Tim Hwang and Jesse James Garrett, and top legacy newsrooms like the Associated Press and Chicago Tribune, and originate in North Carolina, Chile and the U.K.  Together, they employ a range of techniques for delivering news and information in the digital age. They include experiments to:

  • Help newsrooms organize and visualize large data sets so that they can find relationships and stories they might not have imagined (with projects from the AP and the Chicago Tribune.)

  • Create a mobile platform that will enable residents of a city in India to learn when water is available (an unpredictable event that has residents waiting hours).

  • Build tools that help to verify and display breaking news – with projects from Ushahidi and premier Web design firm Adaptive Path.

  • Leverage efforts to improve the use of government data in the U.S. - with projects from the Open Knowledge Foundation, ScraperWiki, the University of North Carolina and The Miller Center Foundation at the University of Virginia.

Congratulations to all.

Local News: Journalism's Forgotten Love Child →

George Washington University professor Matthew Hindman authored a report for the FCC’s quadrennial review of broadcast ownership regulations.

His findings, crudely put: No one really goes to local news sources. 

The big picture is that there is little evidence in this data that the Internet has expanded the number of local news outlets. And while the Internet adds only a pittance of new sources of local news, the surprisingly small audience for local news traffic helps explain the financial straits local news organizations now face.

According to the report, average per capita monthly page views is an anemic 11.4 while monthly time on site barely tops nine minutes.

What say you, Patch and your estimated $120 million invested in local news this year?

The report can be downloaded here (PDF). Nikki Usher analyses the findings at Nieman Lab.

Five Myths about the Future of Journalism →

As we catch up on what we missed during the week, here are a few myths Tom Rosenstiel, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, would like to dispel:

  1. The traditional news media are losing their audience.
  2. Online news will be fine as soon as the advertising revenue catches up.
  3. Content will always be king.
  4. Newspapers around the world are on the decline.
  5. The solution is to focus on local news.

Click through for his myth busting of each.

Local News Outlets Left out of Local Ad Spending →

Poynter’s Rick Edmonds summarizes the annual Borrell Associates Report on local media spending.

The “Top 6” local online companies in ad revenue have abundant local content — but none of it is news. Instead, the ads and associated shopping information are the content.

This confirms a thesis both my State of the Media colleagues and Borrell have advanced for some years — that many Internet users looking for a product or service have no interest in accompanying news content. The ads are, in effect, “unbundled” from news

…Legacy news sites, including Gannett, New York Times, McClatchy, Tribune, Hearst and The Washington Post, appear further down in his Top 20 listing.

Of particular note, Borrell writes, are and Groupon. “In 44 of more than 200 markets we track, Groupon or generates more revenue than the largest local newspaper, TV or radio online operation in that market.”

Visit Poynter for Edmonds’ analysis. The Executive Summary can be downloaded for free from Borrell.