JUNE 24, 2009 3:39PM

Do you hyperlocal?

Rate: 5 Flag
By Katharine Mieszkowski The battle for the future of local media online is heating up.

On Monday, the Huffington Post launched its New York edition, which according to Arianna Huffington's blog post about it includes a "curated selection of the best New York news coverage, plus a collection of bloggers." Note that buzzword "curated;" we'll be hearing that a lot as editors become responsible for what they link to, as well as stories that they assign and edit.

In New York, the Huffington Post will be competing with the New York Times, which has launched its own local online editions drawing on Times reporting and bloggers' contributions in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange, New Jersey. The Huffington Post already has a Chicago edition, launched last year, but in a new partnership announced Monday it will now be sharing stories with ESPNChicago.com, too, according to WebNewser.

As local newspapers shrink, cut back and close, online publishers hope to leap into the lurch by aggregating links to what's left of local TV and newspaper coverage, plus bloggers.

The hyperlocal hope is to cover local communities, even individual city blocks, much more comprehensively than they've ever been covered by mainstream media by inspiring residents to chronicle their own hoods. In the process, many plan to give local businesses highly targeted places to shill their wares in online ads, too.

But it's often hard to gauge how much substance and how much hype there is in hyperlocal initiatives, precisely because they're so local. Personally, I follow with interest two sites, El Cerrito Wire and InBerkeley, which cover two cities adjacent to where I live.

What new blogs and sites are popping up to cover your neighborhood? Do you find them illuminating or wanting?

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I have written for one called Tahoe Ticker...but I'd have to say it's in the "wanting" category. Maybe that's just because the site owner/editor hasn't paid me yet! But it seems a good balance is difficult to strike. Getting good journalism on the cheap is difficult. I was surprised when I wrote a 3 part story on the CA may 19 ballot initiative and he put it straight up without giving it a second look!
I suppose as this sort of thing becomes more widespread, we shall have to suffer more words such as "curated" and my all-time hate, "authored". Enough from me, I have to go have a piece of my bathroom plumbered, and then a man is coming round to do some paintering on the house.
i was really excited recently when a blogger covering san jose found an interview i did last year with a local activist. he left a comment on my post and refer people there in his own coverage.

so my answer is yes, i think. the synthesis isn't quite there yet, but it's encouraging to see people trying to figure out how to contextualize their stories. i also like to check indybay, but i acknowledge that they attract a ton of reactionaries and activists and it can be hard to wade through the infighting that can crop up.
In my estimation "local" means a citywide blog, "hyperlocal" means a neighborhood blog. So in San Francisco, we have sfist.com and sf.metblogs.com for the local, and MissionMission and MissionLoc@l for the hyperlocal.