Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hyperlocal Hedon Blog

THE HEDON BLOG was the subject of a presentation and discussion of Hyperlocal News at Humber Mud recently. The following is the set of slides presented at that event with accompanying notes to each slide below:

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:
Hyperlocal Hedon Blog
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  1. Typical ‘front page’ of the Hedon Blog.
  2. The type of news that is ‘hyperlocal’ i.e. of interest to a very small audience – like ‘dog poo’ problems in the neighbourhood or holes in the ground!
  3. Popular Hedon Blog article of 2009 – the Free ASDA bus!
  4. The tragic death of Amy Black was a shock and people from around the world sought further news via the blog.
  5. Different ways that people can get the Hedon Blog information they want.
  6. The changes in the traditional newspaper industry that have renewed interest in hyperlocal news.
  7. Hobby blogging can bring passion, commitment and local insight. HOTI dog photo by Linda Hinchcliffe.
  8. Yes! – There is an active community in Hedon as demonstrated by the What’s On page and Wish List experiment. The Jigsaw Player and General Election Coverage are two examples of catering to particular audiences. Hedon Beacon photo by Neil Holmes.
  9. Beat Blogging – the daily routine of finding and gathering news for the blog.
  10. Excellent e-book by Adam Westbrook on the essentials of hyperlocal news gathering.
  11. Making it Pay 1 – It doesn’t have to!
  12. Making it Pay 2 – But if you don’t want to run at a loss! Source: Philip John.
  13. Inspiring Hyperlocal news websites – not published see Slideshare.
  14. Talk About Local – Leeds event bringing together hyperlocal community publishers.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Community Safety Week Theme on the Hedon Blog - Did it work?

COMMUNITY SAFETY was the theme of last week's Hedon Blog postings.
The idea was to concentrate on one particular type of article and see if readers found them interesting - or a turn-off!

The week began on Monday 8th February with a post about the benefits of reporting problems in an area via Community Walkabouts.

Tuesday covered the launch of the Not Just Noise website which is aimed at creative young people and sponsored by Humberside Police. The Safer Internet Day initiative also featured on Tuesday. Both these items included videos to watch.

The news that the Environment Agency was to expand its Flood Warning Service was Wednesday's contribution.

Wednesday also saw the Blog post about the timely  Government Training Events on Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour that are taking place over the next few weeks.

The Humberside Police Authority staged its Police and Partners Community Forum in Hedon on Wednesday and this was reported the day after.

The series ended on Saturday with a notice about East Riding Council's publishing of its Emergency Planning Guide "Get ready for the unexpected".

So did you find the series of use? The statistics show that the average daily views were slightly up on the previous week but lower than the week before.

Statistics of course don't tell the whole story. Comments to the website are the lifeblood of any blog - and there was a dearth of comments during last week!

So what are your views on this thematic approach? Could we do other weekly themes? On Health, Community Groups or Leisure for example? Leave a comment and let us know!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Hedon Blogger site evolution.

ONE OF THE KEY ISSUES facing Hperlocal news gathering websites is making the activity sustainable - i.e. making it pay. This does not necessarily mean making a profit but in my case means not running at a loss!

In the case of the Hedon Blog then I was faced with the most likely prospect of migrating from to the self-hosted This article .com v .org shows the difference between the two open source alternatives - one crucial difference is that .com does not allow the placing of advertising links on its platform. would allow me to run adverts on the Hedon Blog but I would have lost a valuable part of one of the unique selling points of i.e. it's free, fairly easy to use and quick to set up; any community group can quickly set up a blog/website and get their 'voice' online. 

I had originally discounted Blogger as an option because you cannot construct websites with pages as is the case with Wordpress and their standard themes were a bit limiting. However, on closer inspection - and inspired by the Coconut Grove Grapevine - then I have started constructing a Blogger-based alternative. I have used a free-to-use professional theme from which allows me to increase the number of columns and offer different options for the placing of adverts. It is early days of construction but the basic outline of the site is available to view here at I have also purchased the domain name

Having built up a community or readers and participants at The Hedon Blog, then any migration to a new site will have to be done carefully and sensitively over a set period of time. Initial thoughts on this are that I would keep the Blog as the community website featuring voluntary and community sector events, meetings and activities. All other news would feature on HU12.

An exciting - but scary - period of development opens up over the next few weeks!