Hyperlocal news sites worth following

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Updated @ 1:50 p.m. 11/07/10 Someone is doing a better job of keeping this up to date, so check that out.

*Updated @ 9:36 a.m. 12/23/09 **Many thanks to Jess Durkin for others.

I don’t think anyone’s arguing that a big portion of the future of news will be this hyperlocal movement that continues to dominate the conversation and has grown in focus for many years.

So, I’m surprised to say I haven’t been able to find is a comprehensive list of already existing products. This isn’t going to be that list, but let’s give it a start. Help me highlight the existing, active hyperlocal news sites worth following.

Read my definition of What is hyperlocal news?


These lists will certainly continue to be updated.

See more beginning on Page 126 of this CUNY PDF. More than 300 hyperlocal news sites from the United Kingdom, I’m told, are listed here.

ONLINE-ONLY HYPERLOCAL NEWS PRODUCTS

  1. BaristanetMonmounth County, Montclair*, N.J. is home to the grand old lady of profitable hyperlocal news sites.
  2. The Batavian (Batavia and Genesee County) — I dig the work of Howard Owens and his work as a one-man advertising and editorial team.
  3. **Corona del Mar Today (Corona Del Mar, California)
  4. The Rapadian (Grand Rapids, Michigan) — They’re heavily interested in citizen reporting, it seems.
  5. Dulles District (Loudon County, Virginia)
  6. Edhat (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
  7. Grafton Times (Grafton, Mass.)
  8. Hometown Headlines (Rome, Georgia) — Look at those advertisements lining its sidebar from small businesses.
  9. City of Hopkinsville (Hopkinsville, Ky.) — This bridges the gap between government and content, but they’re filling a role likely not handled in the past.
  10. Kansas City Kansan (Wyandotte County, Kansas) — H/T Howard Owens
  11. The Local — Kudos to the N.Y. Times (and CUNY) for experimenting here ahead and more successfully than other metro dailies. Thus far, they have a site for neighborhoods in Brooklyn and one for the Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange cities in northern New Jersey
  12. MyBallard (Ballard, Seattle, Wash.)
  13. NEast Philly (Northeast Philadelphia) — It ain’t self-sustaining yet — full disclosure, I contribute and handle its Web presence — but I’m really proud of the steps we’re making.
  14. Newz Junky (Watertown, N.Y.) — It’s all aggregation, but someone built a profitable arm around a site that collects from a broad and big media region and squeezes down just the most relevant stories for its readers.
  15. New Haven Independent (New Haven, Conn.)*
  16. Oakland Local (Oakland, Calif.)
  17. Patch Network (North Jersey, Connecticut and New York) — The town-specific franchise now owned by AOL.
  18. Sacramento Press (Sacramento, Calif.) With a staff of 17, it’s quickly developing a buzz around a multi-tiered revenue platform.
  19. Universal Hub (Boston) Largely agggregation
  20. Village Soup (Tennessee communities)
  21. WestportNow.com (Westport, Conn.) — Founded as far back as 2003.
  22. West Seattle Blog (Seattle, Wash.) — Four years old and eight million page views in 2009, they tell me.
  23. Your Hub (Denver metro) — Town-specific content for Metro Denver.
  24. Your Local (Boston area) — Town-specific content fed onto the Boston Globe Web site.

ONLINE-ONLY LOCAL, TOPICAL NEWS PRODUCTS

  1. Keystone Edge (Pennsylvania) — Covering the new economies of the state. I won’t post all of Issue Media Group sites, the corporation that publishes Keystone.
  2. Loaded Gun (Boston) — Covering films being shot in Beantown.
  3. Metropolis (Philadelphia) — Commentary-centered metro coverage.
  4. Technically Philly (Philadelphia) — Covering the community of people who use technology — full disclosure, I co-founded this site.
  5. The UpTake (Minnesota) — The localized politics site has developed a reputation.

Networked lists some more here.

ONLINE-ONLY LOCAL NEWS PRODUCTS

In these early years of hyperlocal news, any geographically-centered online journalism project is often given the name hyperlocal. But citywide projects that replace previous coverage areas aren’t anything but Web versions of local news. Still, they’re a big part of the conversation.

  1. Ann Arbor Chronicle — as profiled by the Nieman Jouralism Lab — and Arbor Web and the Ann Arbor News, the latter of which is a print newspaper recast as a Web-only news source, are the forefront of local news in the first “good-sized U.S. city” without a *daily print newspaper, according to  an interesting story from Time magazine.
  2. Baktopia is an online community for young people in Bakersfield as set up by the innovative Bakersfield Voice, though it may be getting the heave-ho.
  3. *Berks County TV (Reading, Pa.)
  4. *Chattarati (Chattanooga, Tenn.) — News and opinion
  5. ChiTown DailyNews — Chicago’s online-only news beast made news when it announced plans to shift from nonprofit to a profit model.
  6. MinnPost — The standard nonprofit donation model around local news.
  7. Neighborhood Notes — While NN is among the most innovative of these and certainly the most targeted, because it covers the city of Portland, to me, this is still local news today. Its method of offering readers the chance to read news about only their neighborhood or part of the city shows a hyperlocal element, this is simply a more progressive local news product than a genuinely hyperlocal animal, I think.
  8. Seattle PostGlobe — The online-only product launched by staffers let go when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ditched the printed word.
  9. Voice of San Diego — Their membership model is often discussed but rarely replicated and benefited by a focus on government.

There’s also the Breaking News aggregation of Twitter feeds from some users in certain cities. The Bakersfield Voice has been noted for its use of the Web and user-generated content, but it has a print edition.’

OK, I’m sure I’ve missed many, many existing, sustainable, online-only local news brands. What are they?

Number of Views:68178
  • http://www.dankennedy.net Dan Kennedy

    You are missing the New Haven Independent:

    http://www.newhavenindependent.org

  • http://erikgable.com Erik Gable

    Ann Arbor is not “without a print newspaper.” AnnArbor.com publishes a print newspaper — a good one — twice a week:

    http://www.annarbor.com/newspaper/

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    @Dan: Thanks, added it
    @Erik: You are absolutely correct. That was meant to be without a “daily” newspaper, as it does now after updating. Thanks!

  • http://maplewood.patch.com Mary Mann

    Christopher,
    Baristanet is in Montclair, NJ, which is Essex County. I’m the Maplewood Patch editor, BTW, and I’m a native of Northeast Philadelphia (by way of Grays Ferry first). I’m going to go find that site!
    Thanks,
    Mary Mann

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    Thanks for the correction, which I made. Do check out NEast and let me know whatcha think. Let me know of any others you know and best of luck in Maplewood!
    -cgw

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  • http://www.rebeccavm.com Becky VanderMeulen

    You’re also missing a Knight-funded project I contribute to: http://www.bctv.org. Just launched this month.

  • http://www.shar-on-nutrition.com Sharon

    I am a huge Patch fan. I belong to the Rye Patch which just launched!

  • Tim

    Boston.com (Boston Globe online) has begun building several hyper-local sites for neighborhoods surrounding Boston: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/

    At first blush, they look pretty good.

  • http://www.johnstonpress.co.uk Mark Woodward

    Hi Chris – great post. One person’s hyperlocal is another person’s regional – be useful to start with a definition!
    By the way I think the VillageSoup sites should be on here.
    For a list of 300 hyperlocal news sites in the UK go here: http://bit.ly/70wg2j
    Cheers
    Mark

  • http://www.oldforestnewtrees.com Michael Andersen

    Nice work, Chris.

    It’s important not to overlook the emergence of topical local news sites. Crime, local government and general-interest events are not the only subjects traditionally covered by local newspapers. There’s also sports, arts, and business, of course. And the “metro section” is being divvied up among sites that specialize in local transpo, labor, the environment, health and politics.

    The best list I’ve seen is on page 126 of this PDF, from CUNY:
    http://newsinnovation.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Aspen-Report08113pm_ALL.pdf

  • http://westseattleblog.com TR in WS

    You’re missing us and several of our crosstown friends. Can’t believe you have NO ONE from Seattle on your list.

    Our site’s about to celebrate its 4th anniversary – though we didn’t do news till year 2, and didn’t become a business till year 3. Have passed 8 million pageviews for this year in a community of 60,000 people. PVs up 33% from last year and uniques up 75%. Our local advertising revenue supports 2 fulltime people (my husband and me) and we pay freelance reporters, photojournalists and developers. Fully financially self-sustaining and in the black. Hiring in the New Year. Blessed to be part of an INCREDIBLE community.

    Cheers and much success to all – Tracy in W. Seattle

  • http://westseattleblog.com TR in WS

    Forgot to mention the aforementioned crosstown friends.

    There are many good sites around here but on the leading edge in the city of Seattle, and up and running for at least 2 years each:

    http://myballard.com
    (which won an ONA award, beating the two corporate-media nominees)

    http://capitolhillseattle.com

    http://centraldistrictnews.com

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    Thanks everybody! More suggestions?

    @Sharon: I agree. I’ll be watching all the Patch development.
    @Becky Oops, BCTV has been added.
    @Tim Oh, I know about the Globe local sites. That was always on the list, but thanks for pointing out!
    @Mark I don’t know Village Soup. I’ll look it out, and thanks for the UK link. I added it to the post.
    @Michael Good point. If you see, I created a section dedicated to geographically-tied by topically focused. I’ll look to build that out and will check out the CUNY list.
    @Tracy: You’re right. I’m a fool. I know West Seattle Blog and somehow managed to neglect it. It’s been added, and I’ll check out the others.

  • http://www.universalhub.com Adam Gaffin

    Some more from the Boston area:

    Universal Hub – http://www.universalhub.com (totally self serving link, since I run it).

    One note about the Globe’s hyperlocal sites – they don’t have a single one actually in the city of Boston.

    Grafton Times – http://www.graftontimes.com – one of three sites in the Worcester suburbs started by a print reporter after she got laid off.

    Loaded Gun – http://www.loadedgunboston.com – Breaking news about all the movies now being filmed in the Boston area.

    And what about Gothamist and its worldwide network of ists?

  • http://westseattleblog.com TR in WS

    Erm, was MyBallard already on your list all along? I see it there at #11 now, swear I read the list three times before accusing you of totally overlooking Seattle. Sorry. Need more sleep.

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  • http://community.galionlive.com ThomasP

    We’ve launched a hyperlocal news site for a small Ohio community that is closely integrated with social networking. Visit us at: http://community.galionlive.com or at: http://www.galionlive.com.

  • http://www.westportnow.com Gordon Joseloff

    You missed WestportNow.com, the pioneering news Web site for Westport, Conn., since 2003.

    The New York Times several years ago called it “the gold standard” for hyperlocal Web sites.

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    @Adam: Thanks. I’ll comb through and add some.

    @TR: Nope I added it. Thanks!

    @Thomas: Thanks, added.

    @Gordon: Cool! Thanks for mentioning. I’ve added it.
    -cgw

  • http://chattarati.com John Hawbaker

    I’d like to suggest Chattarati.com, an online-only news site in Chattanooga, TN. You could call us local—since we cover one metro area—but hyperlocal also applies since we have a collection of neighborhood blogs on the site.

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    @John: Thanks added, not to the hyperlocal list but the lower list of online-only news startups.

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  • http://www.iheartpgh.com Lindsay

    I found your post from the link on Hyperlocal blogger – this is a great list. I have been running a blog about Pittsburgh events – not so much news generated but I have been amazed at the extensive community that has formed around IheartPGH.com and the conversation that even a non news blog can help to generate.

  • http://iciclecreekrealestate.com Geordie Romer | Leavenworth WA

    I too came over from the Hyperlocal Blog. (Guess ya owe McGee a beer.)

    Real estate agents like myself are running alot of hyperlocal blogs too. Some are 1/2 neighborhood news and 1/2 real estate news, but the mix runs the gamut. Since Realtors are out in the neighborhoods every day we tend to have a pretty good sense of the lay of the land.

    If there isn’t a hyperlocal news site in your area you may find luck finding neighborhood news from your local real estate agent.

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  • http://thegoldcoaststandard.com Karen Brewer

    How about Darien CT, http://www.thegoldcoaststandard.com. Im realizing that Hyperlocal is the way to go.Even though we are still short on local bloggers,readers really want to drill down to how a place feels.Also check out http://www.allaboutdarien.com

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    Interesting about how your Gold Coast Standard is using a real estate platform to discuss general issues in Darien. I like the concept.
    -cgw

  • http://www.gohyperlocal.com/ Chad

    I’ve put a hyperlocal news site directory together that might be helpful. It is at http://www.gohyperlocal.com

    There are about fifty sites included now and we’re always looking for more submissions.

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