3 ways publishers are experimenting with hyperlocal news

What's New in Publishing 15 Oct 2020 06:30

Even as we see growth in newspaper subscribers, there’s a perception that it is mainly national titles that have benefited. This is true in the case of the US, where The New York Times and The Washington Post account for more than half of all online news subscriptions. Some local and regional publishers worry readers will reach subscription fatigue before they are ever willing to pay for local news.

However, we have seen success stories in local media, with a just-released report from Reuters highlighting how local publishers have succeeded with subscription strategies in Europe. We have also seen success in the US, with a report last year showcasing how the Star Tribune has managed to become the 5th biggest newspaper in circulation in the US while being located in only the 16th largest metro market.

So what has helped these local publishers succeed? It is the focus on actually local journalism that is most important. We have seen in the past how local publishers try to compete through the breadth of content, bringing all the top stories readers should know, rather than through depth of content by covering local stories in detail.

Local and regional news is of particular importance in Germany, where a report this week shows regional newspapers were the most quoted this year. It’s not the first time we have seen a hyperlocal social media strategy in Germany, the latest chapter in our Reinventing Digital Editions research series explored how SüdKurier leveraged their Facebook groups to ensure they were covering each community with valuable content. We have also seen this strategy reach the US, with Wick Communications receiving funding from Google to establish a curated neighborhood social media platform for two target markets.

Ultimately robots will not replace human journalists, however there is value is using robots to allow journalists to focus on what they do best. Robots can help free up journalists to work on more interesting and complex stories, while also allowing for hyperlocal news coverage, such as local high school sports.

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Rachel DavisGermanyLokalportalSebastian PenthinUS
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