Monday, April 13, 2009

Hyperlocal Journalism for Howard County

Interesting article in the NY Times about hyperlocal journalism and a handful of new sites. With the large-scale newspaper business model disintegrating, it's an open question how people will get information about local events, shops and services. Local bloggers will likely be part of the answer, which is part of why I started this blog, but it sure would help to have a credible aggregator to help separate the wheat from the chaff and bundle local information in a useful manner.

The NY Times article mentions several new sites, most of which don't operate in our area yet. One that does is, and I went ahead and joined it to include my content. I can't tell yet if this is really a useful site, but it seems to be on an interesting track by letting you zoom into towns and zip codes to see local blogs and news. So far I've found you can focus on Ellicott City or Columbia in Howard County, and get a somewhat different set of articles. There are also categories for Restaurants and other topics, but it's not yet clear to me how these categories are populated.

Another variant I've run across lately is which has sites for different metro areas, including Baltimore. It's a slight step up in content and breadth, but it attempts to cover the whole Baltimore area, not just communities in Howard County. Nevertheless, I'll keep my eye on it and am considering supplying content.

And then there's the home-grown favorite, HocoBlogs, which aggregates a number of us local bloggers in Howard County. This is already a very useful site and I recommend it for regular residents and newcomers alike. The question is how it will compete in the long run with larger mega-sites. That's the question everyone's trying to answer. For now, vote with your eyes and your clicks.


Jen said...

I just happened to be reading the NYT article on hyperlocal news that you referenced. I then clicked on for the Columbia area and found your post.

Talk about synchronicity!

I just wanted to pass on that one useful site that wasn't mentioned and is pretty good for honing in on local topics is well...Topix.

i.e., here is what is shown for Columbia, MD.

Jen said...

Also (although this is not a hyper-local Website recommendation, per se), in order to keep up on my local Columbia, MD news, I set up a Google alert, and find it to be very handy in notifying me of what's going on in the area.