December 23, 2009

Welcome to the Neighborhood, Redux.

by tolles at 12:57 PM

I'm always happy to see media attention being paid to hyperlocal news.

But who the hell decided that Suburban New Jersey was the reference standard for local news? Just because you live nearby, Mr. New York media guy, does NOT mean that it provides the best representation of the state of the art in hyperlocal journalism

Another example of this was in Slate's "The Big Money", where Mark Gimein has written a major piece, Noise in the 'Hood where he pretty much slags on every one of the major local aggregators, bemoaning the lack of news coverage.

Let me start with the good part - by applauding Mark on spotting the big issue -- There's not enough Local News

Yes, Mark's right in his big takeaway -- the traditional news media -- newspapers, radio and television station, even local bloggers -- are not producing enough news to fill up local news sites about NYC let alone the entire US.

I have pointed this out before:

Local news is not a search problem
If you take the totality of news created from the mainstream press (newspapers, radio, television stations), and do the back of the napkin math for all the local stories generated on a daily basis, here's what you get
1,440 local daily papers X 6 stories a day = 8,640
2,303 news radio stations X 3 stories a day = 6,909
1,686 television stations X 4 stories a day = 6,744
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total local stories per day 22,293
Number of populated US ZIP codes 32,500

But -- We've been working on this.

Don't like the news? Make some of your own!

Topix has gone from being merely an aggregator of local news, to becoming the home of local voice on the web:
60% of the "articles" on Topix are now "original", from scratch, posts not referring to a story
75% of the pageviews on Topix are on the commentary

And we are now pushing over 90 Million comments from our users, most of which are around local content. We are by far the largest player in the hyperlcoal news space with 120,000 monthly pageviews.

But, Col. McCormick on a crutch, it would be nice, with all this attention beginning to emerge around hyperlocal news that the folks covering it look to where sites like Topix are working, vs looking at where they happen to live. Mark cites Patch as his sole place to draw hope.

I mean, come on I love those guys, but -- Patch? three cities being covered? And with the big pileon of the New York Times putting their oar in the water -- you could have at leat picked the local champ Baristanet? Or gone upstate and looked at Howard Owens' The Batavian, couldn't you?

And if you're going to look at Topix, why not check us out in our place of power -- somewhere in deepest America -- like our discussion forums Pikeville Ky. We'll shown you a thing or two in Pikeville, Mr. New York Media guy.

Oh yes we would.

In any case, glad to see the attention to hyperlocal. Just a plea for you New York media elite to remember that local news isn't just in Suburban New Jersey, and it isn't even necessarily even "news".