Hyper-Local News


How about starting some hyperlocal coverage? Local stories on issues that impact you and your neighbors, but might not matter to the town, or even the neighborhood, next door. Since these aren’t stories that would necessarily run in metro-wide media, if it even exists in your area, there’s a stronger emphasis on primary sources, original reporting, and kindness.

In addition to the guidelines and style parameters for WikiTribune, as a hyperlocal reporter, you would want to record the meetings and conversations you’re covering. And let people know you’re recording. Also get copies of relevant documents. All this covers you when there isn’t another reporter in the room. It also builds your readership and community of contributors.

Also consider whether your grandmother or 2nd grade school teacher will understand that you’re recording a conversation and that you plan to publish it on a platform that has international reach. Remind them before you begin. It’s the kind thing to do.

These stories might be organized in a domain tree along the lines of: Continent/Country/Region or state/neighborhood.

What if we used a single neighborhood of New York City as a launch and test case?

A few fun facts (for the international crowd):

Community Boards are the first level of government in NYC. There are 12 in Manhattan, 59 citywide. Every Community Board is comprised of up to 50 members of the community and represents between 60,000 and 200,000 people.

The community board members are appointed by the Borough President, with half of them being recommended by the local city councilors, so they are not elected representatives. They do still have considerable impact, if not actual power, because their approval is usually required for most significant developments. They actually represent the appointing elected officials, and so serve to protect the status quo by ensuring that nothing outside of acceptable current norms gets by unnoticed.

There are 77 police precincts, over 1,800 public schools, and 16,350 bus stops.

The daily operation of these entities affects the lives of 8,537,673 residents, and commuters.  (The population of Manhattan is reported to double during the workday.)

NYC has three major daily newspapers: The New York Times, NY Daily News and The Post. All of them cherry-pick the news. None of them cover it in bristling detail the way a daily paper might (have) in a city the size of just one of the 59 Community Boards.

There’s a serious hole in the NYC news ecosystem. That hole that was made wider on November 2, 2017 by the loss of DNAInfo and Gothamist, both of which focused on neighborhoods. These sites and their archives were purchased by WNYC. Gothamist is said to be returning but the future of DNAInfo, and its focus on neighborhood-specific news, remains unannounced. Patch has several neighborhood/regional publications in New York.

New York City is also a linguistically diverse city, compounding the complexity of reporting relevant and useful information to the communities that need it most. There are over 300 news organizations (print, digital, radio, video, social media based) serving New Yorkers. Some are published as hobbies and others employ multiple full-time local reporters.

WikiTribune would be a brilliant place for local news.

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