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Archive for December 18th, 2006

Hyper-local is the future? Yeah, no sh…

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Apparently, the Beacon publisher has a vision for the future of the paper, and *cough* surprise, it’s local, local, local. Welcome to the rest of the industry.

The newspaper will roll out its “Neighborhood Express” initiative in January, which includes a full page devoted to bites of news from as many communities as will fit.

The new community-news page will appear on Page B3 five times a week, Moss said, with the editorial and op-ed pages returning to the newspaper’s A section. There will be related advertising and circulation efforts as well.

“It’s a block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach to growing our readership and growing our advertisers,” he said.

This is the right move. It is a necessary move that every paper needs to make if it wants to continue to be relevant. What is considered news will continue redefining itself and perhaps regressing in the months and years that are ahead. News is, always has been and always will be what people want to know. And lucky for newspapers who pay attention to this trend, people really want to know about their communities.

I think the one undeniable strength papers like the Beacon and others have is they can cover their community in a way nobody else can. I can read about the latest presidential decree on CNN or NYTimes.com, and in fact, I probably will. They’re going to have it first and with better access than the other papers who are waiting on an AP story to come through. However, nobody else is going to tell me about the new buildings being built in my school district or about the cab flying through the window of a popular downtown restaurant. The only sources I have for that news are local. And newspapers are good, and getting better when coupled with the Web, at getting out such stories with context and relevance that make them compelling enough for me to pick up the paper and read.

I’m glad my hometown paper decided to join the hyper-local party the rest of the industry recognized months (or perhaps even longer) ago.