Hyperlocal Has To Be Peer Produced

The WSJ has a story today about the Washington Post’s struggles with its effort to build a local internet property called LoudonExtra.com.

I have been interested in "hyperlocal" for years and have blogged about this topic quite a bit. From day one, I’ve been convinced that hyperlocal must be "peer produced". That means we together will document what is going on in our streets, our schools, our churches, our parks, and our communities. No "newsroom centric" model is going to work. That’s how I see it.

And that’s why the one "local" investment we’ve made to date, outside.in, is about aggregation of hyperlocal content, not the creation of hyperlocal content. Outside.in creates an "on the fly" local newspaper for any zip code or neighborhood (currently only in the US).

The outside.in model is difficult too. For many places, there just isn’t enough "peer produced" content yet. But if my vision for social media is correct, there will be. In time. How much time? I don’t know.

Outside.in’s CEO, Mark Josephson, also blogged about the WSJ story today. His take:

We are huge fans of the incredible group of individuals blogging about
their local communities. The quantity and quality of these hyperlocal
bloggers is exploding, and their ability to cover more news and
information at the hyperlocal level far outweighs that of a
hand-picked, full-time “traditional” editorial team. We are tracking
more than 140 discrete hyperlocal content sources in Chicago alone, for
example. (Great examples of hyperlocal news coverage are here and here.)

This local media revolution isn’t going to happen quickly. Which makes an investment in the sector tough. But we are convinced that it will happen and are betting on outside.in to be an important part of the solution.