Monday, 20 September 2010

Hyper-local newspapers article in Monocle magazine

I felt I had to draw attention to the fascinating report on the future of hyper-local newspapers in MONOCLE magazine this month

Having family in Inverness I was especially interested in the West Highland Free Press case study. The message of the article is clear, at a time when people are abandoning some bigger regional and national newspapers, hyper-local newspapers have the advantage of knowing their readers better than anybody - because they are the readers.

Yet many of these hyper-local newspapers do not carry copy or full copy on their websites, meaning they are distinct from hyper-local websites. That's interesting, as I have spoken before about how great some of the hyper-local websites are, especially for engaging community groups and giving them a voice to replace the content axed from many regional papers.

But if hyper-local newspapers are going to focus away from daily content, they may end up giving more. The MONOCLE article speaks of niches they have developed globally; from 'scoop' specialists in New Zealand, to student orginated newspapers in South Africa. It's local people giving local news without joining the daily copy arms race faced by regional papers. It's almost as if these hyper-local papers don't feel the pressure and they are liberated by it.

Life is local, and we'd all better get used to it. What a great article, go and give it a read.

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