Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hedon #hyperlocal blogging is simply active citizenship

MEDIA PROFESSIONALS, journalists and other enthusiasts are debating the benefits of "hyperlocal" web publishing i.e. very local reporting of information and news and citizen journalism. They argue that this is a form of local journalism that points one way towards the future of news broadcasting in the UK and globally.

Media organisations will get bigger in the future and dominate national and international news, but they also need to get smaller and meet the news and information demands of those living, working and trading in neighbourhoods, towns and villages.

The debate will go on and the big media organisations will grapple with making the hyperlocal model sustainable and how to utilise citizen journalism - meanwhile small scale local community websites will continue to bring local issues and events to the attention of local audiences.

Is the Hedon Blog conducting "citizen journalism"? I think not. Enthusiasm for a task - even tempered with experience - can never really compete with professionalism gleaned through training and study. However, where the Hedon Blog can compete is by acquiring and using local knowledge to become an active citizen.

Being an active citizen in the area where you live need not be difficult. Simply, it requires being curious about where you live, a willingness to share your curiosity with others - and a sense of indignation when things do not seem right and fair and a willingness to take action. You need to discover the lines of communication that exist in all communities - both formal and informal - in order to convey your message effectively and have an influence.

My work on the Hedon Blog today consisted of a short shopping trip with camera in hand. In 45 minutes I'd acquired a lot of raw information about my community and material to develop for articles on the blog. The image shows this raw material: Clockwise (left to right):

  1. Activities planned for Hedon Methodist Church which can furnish an entry for the 'What's On' page.
  2. Landscape work by the local council which involved pruning down some 'popular' trees.
  3. Notice of a Police and Communities Forum in the Town Hall.
  4. Yorkshire Electricity works on underground cables - what's happening here?
  5. Yorkshire Water worksite left flooded and unattended - again what's happening?
  6. Possible closure of local convenience shop? Victim of the recession?
Each of the above are possible leads for a blog post. With a little bit of digging then stories of interest to my local area can be unearthed.

I'm not sure that a journalist drafted in would be able to see the same potential from my short stroll that I can!?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hedon Blog Classifieds

I am carrying out a poll over at the Hedon Blog or at the link below about whether people would use a new Classifieds Service. Your help and views would be much appreciated:

Poll: Hedon Blog Classifieds is a good idea!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hedon Blog: New Year food for thoughts

Following analysing the Hedon Blog's popular posts and my favourites of 2009 then I conclude that I need to maintain a variety of content in 2010 to keep readers coming back. The very local stuff such as the post about the free bus service to the ASDA needs to be married with more nationally searchable material such as the Swine flu article. Of course on the rare occasions when Hedon provides the source of a topical news story, then the Blog can come into its own in providing a useful informative service as with the Amy Black report.

The Hedon Blog is non-party-political. But it is not apolitical as its support for the HOTI campaign shows. Therefore the Blog is perfectly placed for providing a unique local service during the 2010 general election campaign. It can provide a platform for debate and discussion and ensure that the political parties consider Hedon and its interests during their election campaigns. It can report from the 'front-line' of meetings and canvassing. It can even conduct its own straw polls of Hedon opinion and report directly from the count on election night.

During 2010 then I need to look at income generating opportunities, particularly to cover promotional costs. These might come through migrating to a paid-for service over at or Typepad or setting up a seperate 'white/yellow' pages site for Hedon. I favour the latter, because the winning formula with is the fact that it is free, simple to use, and readily available for any community to use. Indeed even an ex-Editor of newspaper has opted to use the version in establishing his hyperlocal site The Harbourne Mile! On a personal note then my own income generation needs a kick-start also in 2010 (sic).