Lots and lots of links this week. You may recall us trying to define “hyperlocal” previously here on HLB, and also linking out to others (Lost Remote) as they had similar discussions. One of the links below is Sarah Hartley’s “10 Characteristics of Hyperlocal.” Good read with some interesting ideas and discussion in the comments.
- AOL Aims High With Hyperlocal Journalism Project, www.npr.org
- It Takes a Village (& Other Lessons Hyperlocal Bloggers Teach Us), Outside.in Blog
- Obama Signs Act Protecting American Bloggers, www.bluemaumau.org
- PaperG’s Flyerboard Adds LATimes, Media News, As Revenues Rise 70% Each Month, TechCrunch
- Forecast: Local Online Ad Spending Will Be Up 18 Percent Next Year, paidContent.org
- Patch’s Problematic Redesign, www.cjr.org
- 10 Characteristics of hyperlocal, sarahhartley.wordpress.com
- Hyperlocal Business Directory MerchantCircle Takes On Patch With Content Studio, TechCrunch
- 5 Myths About Philadelphia’s ‘Blogging Tax’, Wired
- Fwix Implementation Live On YellowPages.com!, Fwix Blog
- Getting a hyperlocal grip on international news, The Hyperlocalist
- It Takes a Village to Save a Newspaper, engage.tmgcustommedia.com
- Marketing’s New Rage: Brands Sponsoring Influential Bloggers, www.wwd.com
- Should You Remove Post Dates from Your WordPress Blog?, weblogtoolscollection.com
- Who’s a journalist? Does that matter?, www.salon.com
- Why News Startups Should Think Collaboration, not Competition, with Big Media, Poynter Online
- 10 Useful Lesser Known WordPress Plug-ins, www.devlounge.net
Why not!? Everyone else is, right?
In a breathless email blast to registered contributors at Associated Content, Yahoo said it is “looking for writers living in or near the San Francisco area (like you!) to write compelling, local content — ranging from highlights of your favorite neighborhood destinations to metro-wide, first-person reporting assignments covering the stories and topics not typically found in mainstream news media.”
Yahoo already is a bit of a player in the local news space. It offers local news right on the www.yahoo.com home page, even.
Yahoo has also been hiring digital journalists for several months now to bolster is news-related content. In mid-January, Yahoo News’s Andrew Golis wrote on his personal blog about needing to hire five new bloggers:
I’m looking to build a team of voracious news consumers with an eye for a good story angle and the ability to write in tight, engaging prose. Each blogger should have both reporting and online news experience, broad interests, and the ability to write for a general, non-expert audience. Our office will be virtual, so the ability to juggle instant messenger, email, the phone, and the TV simultaneously is essential. These are jobs for a multitasking, obsessive news junkies with a common touch.
Now, those five positions he referred to were all national-level bloggers for Yahoo News. But, based on what Alan Mutter writes about today, it seems like Yahoo News is now pushing its coverage further into the hyperlocal space. San Francisco first … and perhaps many more to come after that.
Update: PaidContent points out that Yahoo is also advertising for editors in San Jose, Chicago and Dallas.
(there’s more discussion on MediaGazer)
Some local bloggers in Philadelphia are angry about getting a tax bill from the city. Philadelphia telling bloggers that reported business income that they have to pay what’s called a Business Privilege License. It costs $50/year or $300 for a lifetime.
The issue seems to be that some affected bloggers are making peanuts from having ads (usually Google ads, I’d assume) — not even enough to pay for the license. From an AP story this week:
“I think it’s ludicrous,” said Seano Barry, whose blog Circle of Fits focuses on music in Philadelphia and offers up concert and music reviews.
“I review shows in the city. I sometimes write for a couple of other blogs,” he told The AP. “Sometimes I get access to the shows, sometimes I don’t. To put the ads up is to cover the cost of going downtown.”
In the last two years, Barry said he’s made about $11 and change from the tiny ads on his site, nothing else.
“This is not a business,” he said. “Really, it’s a labor of love.”
A couple Philadelphia council members are wanting to amend the law so that small businesses and bloggers won’t have to pay tax on small amounts of income. But the $50/$300 license would still apply, from what I’m reading in that story.
I see both sides on this. I have ads on my small business SEO blog, but I’m certainly not getting rich from them. I do report that income, though, and pay all necessary taxes to Uncle Sam. The law is the law. Until it changes, the Philly bloggers should do the same.
On the other hand, the city needs to recognize that the act of placing Google ads on a web site doesn’t automatically make you a business owner. For many, blogging is like what print fanzines used to be. (That’s a 1994 U2 fanzine at right.) Back in the day, fanzine publishers had to charge $5 or $10 per issue because it cost money to buy paper, to buy ink, to make copies, and to send out their fanzine via snail mail. But no one would confuse those folks with real business owners.
Some local blogs are the same way now: hosting costs money, cheap digital cameras cost money, gas to go to local events, parking, etc. — they all cost money. Putting Google ads isn’t about running a business for some, it’s about trying to cover costs. And those folks shouldn’t be forced to pay a Business Privilege License fee.
Here’s another batch of good articles worth checking out during the coming week. The astute reader will notice something a little different below: I’ve added a couple links to WordPress-related articles. In the past, these link roundups have pretty much always been heavy on the hyperlocal and a bit light on the blogging. So, going forward, I hope to add in links that are about blogging for some better balance.
- Chicago hyperlocal launches today, Lost Remote
- Nine Questions on Patch’s New Push: National Hyperlocal?, SEO Sauces, and the Case of the Besieged Florist, newsonomics.com
- Ten Questions: Pauline Sargent of Drimnagh is Good, Talk About Local
- NABJDigital Interviews Holly Edgell of Patch.com, nabjdigital.wordpress.com
- Bon Voyage! (Or, Why Taking a Blog Vacay is Awesome), Outside.in Blog
- Common WordPress Multisite Problems and Solutions, weblogtoolscollection.com
- MediaShift Idea Lab . How Training Citizen Journalists Made a Difference, PBS
- Gannett to roll out hyperlocal sports pages, Lost Remote
- WordPress Post Tabs – Free WP Plugin To Add Tabs To Your Posts And Pages, blogern.com
This is brilliant. Ever heard of TwitZip? It’s a network of hyperlocal Twitter accounts, each one based on local ZIP codes, that sends out tweets around the clock with the latest news from that zip code. But it doesn’t just send out automated tweets, it also lets Twitter users report news to Twitzip for retweeting.
It’s the brainchild of a couple guys named Nathan Heinrich and Aaron Donsbach, who grabbed all the ZIP code-based Twitter accounts they could get their hands on a couple years ago. (Guys: You missed 99302 for Pasco, Washington.) Here’s a look at one my local ZIP codes, twitter.com/99352:
(click for larger version)
TwitZip has partnered with Outside.in to get its hyperlocal news feeds running through each Twitter account. TwitZip’s home page says it has a partnership with Groupon to post local deals, and that local weather and government alerts are coming next.
TwitZip & Hyperlocal Blogging
On one hand, TwitZip competes with hyperlocal bloggers as a source of local news. But local news isn’t a zero-sum game, so I think it’s shortsighted to focus on that aspect of what TwitZip is doing. Instead, think of how TwitZip can help your hyperlocal blog. Here are four ways I can think of off the top of my head:
- As a news source. The first thing I did was add all of the local TwitZip accounts to my Tri-Cities Twitter list. This is the list I monitor to keep track of what’s happening around town — it’s my Twitter news feed, and TwitZip will make it better.
- As a distribution channel. (part 1) If TwitZip is getting content from Outside.in, here’s my millionth recommendation that you add your local blog to Outside.in’s system. That should get your blog content into TwitZip and could increase your Twitter exposure.
- As a distribution channel. (part 2) TwitZip is setup to automatically retweet messages that are sent as @ replies to it from Twitter followers. In other words, follow your local ZIP code and then include an @ message to it and it’ll retweet your message. (Wonder how TwitZip will handle spam/junk that comes through via this method….)
- As content for your blog. Beyond getting news tips (#1 above), you can take the RSS feed(s) from your local TwitZip accounts and add them to your hyperlocal newswire if you added one to your blog.
Your turn: Is TwitZip something you’d use in conjunction with your local blog? What are your thoughts on it? Comments are open.
AOL launched its 100th Patch hyperlocal news site today — this one in Morristown, New Jersey. And if all goes according to plan, there’ll be about 500 Patches across the U.S. by the end of the year. (It’s tempting to insert a joke here about fungus-like growth, but I have no direct experience with Patch so that wouldn’t be fair.)
Some other news and stats from today’s announcement:
- Patch plans to be in 20 U.S. states (500 neighborhoods) by the end of 2010.
- Patch plans to hire more than 500 journalists.
- Patch has hired four regional Editorial Directors, one each to oversee Patch’s Northeast, South, Midwest, and West Coast reporting.
- Patch also has 52 Regional Editors across its current network in 13 states.
Patch currently has hyperlocal sites in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Virginia. Future expansion is planned in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.