Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hyperlocal News- Who Should Really Use It?

James Massara

With the Internet becoming the main source for "breaking news," a problem has formed as to what sources are accurate and able to be trusted. 

The majority of the U.S. population has access to the Internet in some form, and also has the ability to post and share information with a push of a button. There are benefits as well as many negatives.

Beating Them To The Chase

One of the largest negatives to the audience creating “news” is the large possibility of incorrect information spreading like wildfire before reliable news sources have the chance to report correctly on the matter.
One prime example of the general public spreading incorrect news is the news of movie star actor, Jackie Chan. In the summer of 2013 the movie star was said to have died according to multiple social media sources. Chan responded with a picture on Facebook with him holding a newspaper from that day to prove he was alive. This wasn’t the first time this happened to Chan. A Facebook group titled "Jackie Chan R.I.P 08/17/2011" appeared to announce the actor’s death of a heart attack two years earlier.

                                                             (Courtesy of Facebook)

This shows the possible danger of allowing the general public to become his or her own versions of “citizen journalists."

Knowing The Inside Scoop

In small town markets especially, where the newspaper in its non-Internet form will survive the longest in my opinion, citizen journalists can be a great asset to the professional publications, because they will be the first to know information thanks to the small town “he said she said” environment.

If the professional journalists of the local news source learn which community members are reliable on information, it is almost like having unpaid reporters in the community with their eyes and ears open 24/7.
The trouble in a small market is if the public finds out the sources that are talking to the press, then those sources tend to get shut out of the loop.

Hyperlocal News- Used By The Big Guys

Hyperlocal news sources can be a threat to professional news sources as well as an ally, but hyperlocal reporting benefits the local residents. Larger news sources like the BBC have started to use links to hyperlocal regional stations to incorporate their national news alongside local news in their coverage area. Stations are also starting to post the links to the original sources of their stories, which many times are written by local bloggers.

The Benefits

The true benefit of hyperlocal news sources is the ability to get the local population to read the news product, by making it feel more relatable to the reader. This is easier for the local professional sources because much of their product is already hyperlocal stories.

It would be more difficult for a source in Boston to begin a hyperlocal product because it would be very difficult to cover that large of a population on a small scale. Due to the typical small size of a hyperlocal sources personnel in office cover a city of that size would be near impossible without missing large sections of the city.

Leave It To The Little Guys

When it comes down to it, hyperlocal news reporting should be left to the smaller scaled market. There is less to try to cover and therefore less of a chance to misreport information in a story. 

Larger publications should build partnerships with the smaller publications so that they will be able to post links directly to the article. The most important factor in the situation will always be to have reliable sources when reporting on any scale.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I knew all this (well, maybe all of it) but it's great to see all the options in one place. Thanks for posting.
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