Seven students in the Journalism: Online, Print and Broadcast program at Loyalist College launched their hyperlocal news website project today.
Here is an excerpt from my comments at the media conference:
“Hyperlocal journalism, for those of you who might be unfamiliar with the term, focuses solely on news and information for a specific geographic or thematic area delivered online. What we are talking about are neighbourhoods, hamlets, towns or small cities. They are not just limited by geography, but can also be thematic, dealing with a specific set of issues or area of a community. You will see examples today ranging from environmental sustainability, sports and politics. The coverage is highly targeted and unlike many mainstream media, which is often more regionalized, it seeks to serve a highly specific audience.
We are very fortunate in our community and in Eastern Ontario, where there is very rich and diverse media where the commitment to cover local news is very strong. But that is not the case everywhere. The hard economic realities, combined with new technologies, make it difficult. Our industry is undergoing major changes. The key is searching for innovative approaches to create new opportunities to serve communities.
Hyperlocal news is one of those initiatives. It has taken off in England and in some places in the United States. It is very new to Canada, but there are a growing number of examples. These projects are welcomed additions.
What is more exciting is the exceptional approach Loyalist is taking when training these young people. These students are learning to become journalist/entrepreneurs. Not only do they technically create and maintain these sites and they generate the multimedia content, they must be businesspeople, as well. It is a requirement of the course, following some specialized training, to go out and seek at least one sponsor for the 12-week project. The revenue generated is theirs to keep.
There is no other journalism program in Canada, I am aware of, that requires this of its students. We are helping these young people build confidence in their abilities as independent publisher.
We would like to encourage the community to come and visit these sites, enjoy the content and engage in the many interactive features.
Loyalist College is proud of its tradition within the School of Media to be leaders in industry and in education. Today, we continue this legacy.”
Here are the sites; please check them out:
Rural Hastings Advocate – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/jenniferbowman
Rural Hastings Advocate will cover the politics of Hastings County and cover issues specifically facing rural residents. Residents will be able to join council meetings live in an interactive online event each month. They will also be able to access local news and other live online events. The Advocate seeks to be a voice for those in It will also provide a voice for rural residents, particularly in the southern part of the county.
“Rural communities are often under represented in the news, so I am looking forward to giving living rural residents a voice for their issues and concerns,” said Jennifer Bowman managing editor of the Rural Hastings Advocate.
Quinte Greenspace – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/mattkerr
Quinte Greenspace will cover the environmental and natural news that matters to the Quinte region. It will focus on in-depth matters regarding topics from renewable energy to outdoor recreation. The site will offer online discussion about environmental issues in the region and provide stunning visuals.
“Hyperlocal news is the future of journalism and online news and will help give us an advantage over the competition, said Matt Kerr. “My website will provide an in-depth look into the world of environmental issues and topics and other matters the community cares about.”
Prince Edward County Voice – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/nicolekleinsteuber
The Prince Edward County Voice will feature in-depth news coverage on political and social issues around the county.
“Investigating under covered issues gives a voice to the voiceless and I find that extremely gratifying as a journalist,” said Nicole Kleinsteuber
PEC Voice offers live coverage of council meetings and community events. Through live blogging and forums PEC Voice offers county residents an opportunity to come together and discuss, debate and learn about hot topics and issues.
“Prince Edward County is rich with culture and vibrant people who want to engage in live discussions about political, controversial, and educational topics. It provides a public space where county residents can come together and share their opinions, experiences and knowledge.”
The Belleville Observer – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/ashlieghgehl
The Belleville Observer covers the pulse of political life in Belleville, Ontario. It brings poverty, education, health care and environmental issues to the foreground by providing in depth coverage and insightful analysis.
The Sideliner – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/christinehosler
The Sideliner is a hyperlocal website focusing on varsity sports and campus recreation at Loyalist College. The Sideliner will be a one-stop-shop for campus sports news, with a full calendar of games and events. Stories will include game features, player profiles, photo galleries, and other assorted features. The goal is to promote awareness of college sports, and help develop a greater sense of school pride in the Loyalist Lancers.
“Hyperlocal news websites will provide a place where people can find lots of information on the subject of their choice. Niche markets are under-served by the mainstream media and my site will provide them with the information that interest them.”
Beyond the Game – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/lainesedore
Beyond the Game will cover local minor sports in the Quinte region. People will be able to gain access to a variety of sporting news as well as participate in online chats and event coverage.
“Hyperlocal news serves an area that mainstream media often misses, said Laine Sedore. “By covering local minor sports in Belleville, I will be serving a market that is under covered.”
Quinte Sporting News – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/andrewmendler
The Quinte Sporting News will be strictly covering high school sports in Belleville and the surrounding area. It will provide game stories, feature pieces, athlete profiles and analysis on all high school sports.
“Other media organizations in the region don’t have the time to provide in-depth and constant coverage on high school sports,” said Andrew Mendler. Quinte Sporting News will be able to provide local citizens with the up to date and extensive coverage they want and deserve.”