Pen and paper…

Thoughts, ideas, questions, experiences

Developing ideas for my hyperlocal project March 2, 2010

Filed under: Online journalism — Kellie Maddox @ 1:32 pm
Tags: , , ,

As outlined in my earlier post; I’m looking to set up a hyperlocal blog as part of my final year university project and the next stage in the planning process focused on ‘media enterprise’. Below is my response to what kind of enterprise would produce the blog, what my role in the project would be and other issues to consider:

I’m sticking with my original proposal idea which is:

To set up and run a hyperlocal news blog for my local area (Cannock Chase, WS12 and surrounding areas). I would like the blog to contain more than ‘news’ articles (which many sites already offer) and include audio interviews/observations (e.g. audio boo), photographs, short video packages and more social media connections.

I am confident, from the feedback received (see my blog), that this is a viable and challenging production project that will benefit me in my professional development and users of the news platform. In terms of the media enterprise needed to implement my idea; I feel that initially this will be an individual, self-starter ‘enterprise’ as many hyperlocal blogs are run by individuals or small groups that do not begin as commercial enterprises. Again, further research necessary.

I would say the main role within hyperlocal start-ups is a journalist (or non-journalist in some cases) who writes/produces/publishes content and communicates with local community groups/businesses/citizens about events/issues/concerns. Skills needed include writing copy, interviewing, audio recording and editing, possibly photography and general communication/organisation skills. I feel that I have the necessary skills to take on this central role described above, for my project, which is shown through my production work (particularly Online Journalism) and my work experience in print and radio.

As hyperlocal blogs are often non-commercial start-ups (to begin with at least), the enterprise/role I’m proposing could ‘really’ be set up and be an actual professional project. As I’m keen for this to be a mainly individual project (due to my location), I would organise and run the blog and make decisions based on my own experiences of online local news production. In the early stages of the project, I would aim to identify myself and my project to the local community (schools, churches, businesses, local council etc) and to encourage their participation in the blog.

Issues I will consider further include:

· The scale of the project (big enough to provide challenge but be able to maintain and produce myself) based mainly on geographical area covered

· The potential that I made need other contributions on a freelance basis such as photography (although for blog purposes, I’m confident I can take photos of sufficient quality)

· Commercial-viability – needed to sustain a hyperlocal project

Feedback from my tutor on developments:

What is really encouraging about your ideas is that you put research at the centre of your plans. Your initial research based on your knowledge of the sector initiated the idea and you seem to understand the type of enterprise that will be required to make it happen. You also show that the progression of the project will depend on experimentation and interaction with your audience and your “community”. You recognise a number of issues which will be influential to your project and you don’t jump to any rash conclusions about the possible solutions. This is mature and intelligent project planning.

(Thanks for the compliment!) Anyway, just thought I’d post it up to see if anyone has any thoughts or comments. Is there anything major I’m failing to consider? Does it seem feasible to start on my own and see where the project leads? Or am I being naive?

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