It's all about Beverley... apparently.
The Guardian reports today that a popular hyperlocal blog
based in Beverley, East Yorkshire, has expanded into a printed publication.
When I read the headline I must admit that the jaded, sceptical side of me thought it would die on its arse. But on closer inspection it seems like a pretty smart business model. What's smart about it? It's not forgotten its hyperlocal roots.
Far from launching a massive, full colour, high-end publication distributed by WHSmith in the thousands and stuffed with pricey ads, creator Paul Smith is sticking to small, local-interest community led stories and ads for the princely sum of £5 a week. A couple of hundred copies can be found at the local pub or barber.
Hyper-local is an area that was much discussed in the early days of 38minutes - there's still a group
dedicated to it. The question is, with the internet making the community national and the national global, is this the new hope for print publishing? Small overheads, small ambitions, small profits, multiplied across the country?
From a personal viewpoint I think there's a definite need for hyperlocal reporting in both print media, digital and TV. It's a criticism often levelled at the Beeb that 'local' news is anything within a 300 mile radius of where you live. As a Highland girl (proper, teuchter John O' Groat Highlands) I know all too well that Highland news equals Inverness, yet my family home is more than 100 miles north of that. Local site Caithness.org
might not be sophisticated, but its enduring popularity comes down to its relevance.
New STV initiative STV Local
is making some moves in this direction.
Interested to know what other 38minuters think? Is there a future for hyperlocal journalism or do big audiences equal big bucks?
(Full story in the Guardian
. The online HU17 blog is here
. Good luck to him!