If citizen-content-exclusive destination sites don’t make sense when it comes to hyperlocal content, what else can you do with user-submitted content? Another approach is to focus on micro-targeting the citizen submissions. I’m intrigued by websites like YourStreet.com, which geo-tags local news and information and puts it on a map mash-up. Using a model like YourStreet’s, a news organization might create a map service that presents hyperlocal (geo-tagged) content on neighborhood maps.
While I live in Boulder, Colorado, I couldn’t care less about news from schools or community organizations serving neighborhoods across town. But I care a lot about anything to do with the school near my house that my daughter attends. I care about the announcement from the local fire station about staffing changes. So targeting that sort of news and information to me is a powerful service that a news company can provide. (Of course, I’d want the option to expand the range of micro-news and information that I view.)
If you can gather, slice and dice hyperlocal citizen news and information, think too about disseminating it outside of your own website. Create a customizable widget that a neighborhood blogger, say, can include on his site to offer his readers links to news and information pertinent to his neighborhood. That’ll drive traffic back to your website, or might include ads that you place within the widget. Win-win.
If a news website can filter the minutiae (from a wide variety of sources, internal and external to the news organization) that’s relevant to a specific online user, and present that in context with the professionally produced output of the news organization, then I think you’ve got something valuable.