Talk for Wiki Project "Hyper-Local News"

Talk about this Project

  1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    Just came here to see how I can contribute local news stories about my city, Hillsboro, Oregon. I would really like to see this functionality. I have been donating to WikiTribune since launch.

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    I’d love to know more about this project, but even after reading everything I’m confused about the point. Are you hoping to attract publishers for cross posting or to attract stake-holders to contribute themselves?

    Regardless of the aims I’d love to help. For the last three years, I’ve been the publisher of a hyper-local weekly newspaper. We had to shut down in July of 2017, but until then we published stories about 5 neighborhoods in North Philadelphia (Link to archives –

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      Hi Matt –

      The ultimate goal of Hyper-Local is to fill the news deserts in communities. Across WikiTribune more generally, it’s to offer news that’s above partisanship.

      On the hyperlocal level, cross posting from other publications and attracting stakeholders are both things we’re talking about. I’m very interested in having citizen journalists – volunteers – learning the craft and contributing. Right now we’re exploring the logistics to support that.

      I’d love to talk more. There’s also a sort of news-a-thon happening online in the WT community Saturday that may interest you. There may be a link and invitation to it online but if you shoot me an email at my name (no dot) at gmail, I’ll happily forward you the newsletter that has the link.


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    Hej. All news is local – and I think for WT to be successful and change the course of media this thread and idea should get a lot of attention! Every news startup on the planet, and every traditional media outlet is competing for the same headlines, the same eyeballs…and right now the headlines on WT aren’t different than on say NYT, Guardian, Publico, Das Erste, FB etc.. If the platform can enable more initiatives to tell their own story with their own community (create value that way) – and the front page isn’t dominated by the same stories as everywhere else in some way – WT can be hugely successful! For now its an experiment… lets see how Jimmy and Fiona and others take hold of this opportunity…

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      Yes – all politics and all news! I’m interested in knowing how a fact-checking process works for WT. That might be worth it’s own project. There are books on the subject, but no real good online primers that I’ve found.

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    Hi Jessica et al. I think this is a great idea. Might it be possible to leverage the work done by local non-profit reporters (whether student/college newspapers, neighborhood association, or activist groups) — some of which may not have a reliable web-presence? I have no idea how “cross-posting” would work, but it could be a good way to improve local reporting.

    If I’m ever going to contribute a story, it will probably be something local.

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      Hi Adam – cool! I’m reporting my first hyperlocal story tonight and going to pitch it to the editors tomorrow. Love to hear your thoughts. Jessica

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    There’s an intersection between social media and journalism that would benefit from the discussion on WT.

    From Facebook – Hashtag Our Stories speaking at News Xchange in Amsterdam, Nov 15/16:

    Then, the question of Facebook filters is raised by Ethan Zuckerman of the MIT Media Lab in, which he told a group at the Paley Center on Nov 16 is “not a product but a provocation.”

    Also want to throw into the mix How WT filters, sorts, surfaces stories, is incredibly important.

    I’m swamped for the next month (finishing a Master’s practicum) but want to seed the discussion as I come across things. Maybe others will find interesting, too. And I don’t know what the protocol is for a project on WT, but don’t feel you need to wait for me. Have at it! I’m happy to jump back into this however it evolves. Jessica

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    Hi Jessica,

    I brought up setting up info on local news sources on this project and Fiona Apps mentioned that creating a list of these local sources here might be a good idea as opposed to creating one big monster list.


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      Read the comments on news-sources/#talk. Thanks! Sounds great. Is there a local market you’d like to start with?

      I think Fiona and Jimmy’s comments make sense.

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        I agree, their input does make sense. I like Jimmy’s idea of sub-pages and being able to drill down to whatever market you’d like to look at.

        My knowledge would be in the Minneapolis, MN area. I realize this isn’t the biggest market but that’s where I’d be able to contribute the most.

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          Sounds cool, Mark. I’d say jump on it, but I understand the staff at WT might need to decide how to best use their resources to develop this kind of reporting. Wherever this kind of reporting starts at WT, it’ll lay the groundwork for everyone else.

          Assuming there is some bandwidth to start, ask yourself if are there local meetings, events, or issues you feel are important that the Minneapolis press isn’t routinely covering? Maybe someplace really close to home? Is there a specific beat you can carve out and become an expert on to begin with? Maybe it’s high school football, commercial zoning, brown fields, or policing?

          I’d start small and very specific, record everything, and tell everyone in your community what you’re doing and why. This kind of reporting isn’t stealth work. 🙂

          For me, the mechanics unfold like this – sorry if this is too basic but maybe by laying it out, I’ll describe specific moments when a WT editor or technology might want to be part of the process:

          In covering the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I attend committee meetings of the local community board. If the meeting is small enough, I introduce myself to the committee members before the meeting begins and ask, even though it’s a public meeting, if it’s ok if I’m there, taking notes, recording, whatever. When the public is invited to ask questions, I listen to the questions. When I think I’ve heard everybody, I raise my hand, identify who I am writing for (if I haven’t already), and ask my questions.

          The community boards in NYC generally try to make sure “all” sides are represented around issues. Often that means the people you’d need to speak with in order to give balanced reporting are in the room with you. But maybe they’re not and you’ll have to do the legwork to locate them. Maybe they’ll surface later after you’ve published and they come to WT to help expand the conversation. But if you know the issues and the area, you’re in a better position to know who isn’t getting a voice.

          You might want to livestream and archive the event so that there’s some fact-checking available. Recording interviews separately and having them available if questions come up I’d think would be essential.

          Gathering primary source material is as important in community reporting as it is in national or international reporting. At a real estate zoning meeting, examples of that would be maps, testimony, legal citations, previous decisions, previous media coverage (if any), etc.

          If you let people know where you’re posting, I’m guessing you’ll develop a readership for WT and your work. People always want to know if they’ve been quoted and represented accurately. And others are sure to be interested in participating with WT – hopefully by becoming members of the WT community and being able to edit your work.

          Even by starting a really small geographic beat, you’ll grow the kind of community at WT that Jimmy is talking about. All this begins to address the topic of fake news, I think: if people in your community are seeing strong reportage on issues they know firsthand, they’re more likely to trust the same media organization on issues they know nothing about.

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            Oh boy – sorry for the long reply Mark! I am passionate about this topic.

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            All of this sounds good. The protest movement is pretty robust in Minneapolis/St. Paul and I’ve already done some reporting on it. The local media covers it sometimes but articles are lacking in context for the most part.

            Which leads me to how exactly people should be identifying themselves. Usually I would say “I’m Mark Wasson and I’m writing/researching a story about ______ for ______.” but since I’m not an employee of WikiTribune I’m unsure as to how I should approach it. If I say I’m just some guy, even with my previous experience, no one is going to talk to me and in fact, might be hostile. Protest movements aren’t always friendly with media outlets they don’t know and are afraid of being doxxed by right wing bloggers.

            I think this also pertains to what you said about how exactly the WT team is envisioning shoe leather reporting for WT.

            If it was up to me, I’d start contacting people right now to get some profiles done and be heading out to the next protest as I’m already set up (gear wise) for it.

            1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

              May I make a suggestion as this is something people would obviously be interested in pursuing? Creating a collaborative ‘Hyper-Local News’ Project that would let people from various locations discuss ideas might be a good starting point and then people can branch out from there as they wish/asking for whatever help they’d like. I’m more than happy to put that sort of thing on the front page when it gets rolling for more input.

              1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

                That sounds perfect, Fiona. I’ll change the name of the project to ‘Hyper-Local News’ now.

                1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

                  Or better, since I still have no idea how changing anything affects anything else, start a new one as you say above? Fiona, may I let you set that up so it functions in the WT system?

                  1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

                    Hi Jessica,

                    After thinking about this a bit, I think the intent of WT is to allow community members to do things like start new projects. And with Fiona pretty much giving the go ahead to start a new project like the one we’re talking about I think we should just do it.

                    I don’t know about you, but I feel a little apprehensive about just taking things by the reins and doing stuff. Perhaps we shouldn’t be?

                    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

                      Hi Mark,

                      Yes, a little nervous here too. A couple of days ago I made edits to this project creating Hyper-Local News and then kept the New York City part to be nested separately. Haven’t heard back. I’m guessing enough of the staff is American that maybe next week we’ll see something?

                      In that new project, I suggested a few guidelines for unbiased reporting in small communities. Hoping that will get some discussion.

                      So far nothing public but I’m with you on both points. 🙂 Hope you’ve got a lovely Thanksgiving planned.

                    2. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

                      Hi Jessica, I just saw this and wanted to say hi. Your idea for hyper-local, and the New York version in particular, is great. I’m one of the people in the virtual office, and it’s just lack of bodies/time that is stopping closer attention to ideas like yours at the moment. Also, the ethos is very much that the community is empowered. But we are still fine-tuning the processes.

  7. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    Looks like an interesting idea!

    Could also work in other parts of the world where local newspapers with proper news are few and far between. Many local papers are now mostly just free papers full of ads, with very little news.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Have a place in mind? Where are you located?

  8. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    I grew up in Queens and currently live in Brooklyn. I think this is a great idea and could gain significant traction. Two perspectives:

    From the Tech Perspective: Does WikiTribune’s current CMS / editorial ecosystem have the capability to support crowd-sourced, hyperlocal content? Presumably the advantage for WT to do this is the scalability & templat-ization of this type of coverage that other smaller groups, such as the West Side Rag, is not able to achieve. How would we define a neighborhood? How do we organize these streams of content so that it is more in the style of modern journalism rather than just a subreddit where anyone gets to say anything?

    From the Local Consumer Perspective: The recent surge in NYC’s population growth is largely based on a young, digitally-connected, highly transient group. The identities of many neighborhoods are going through rapid change. Without going into the politics of this change, one could still see the value of these hyperlocal pages in bring people together. I believe covering local issues, including participatory budgeting, would be greatly beneficial to people adopting more ownership over their own neighborhoods.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Wondering the same from a tech perspective. I have to think it’s in the works?

      I love having a neighborhood self-define, although obvious delineations are the city’s own: community board, police precinct, school board. Maybe someone could dial in/subscribe as they wish? For instance, I know that I live within certain city catchments so I’d like to read the news for those.

      The school and community boards on UWS already have people who are live-streaming meetings. They may be saving the content to FB or their organization’s website, but I’d like to see a shift away from FB as the go-to place for important local content given the absurd filtering.

      Want to start this in Brooklyn?

  9. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

    Hi Jessica, I think this is a great idea – I don’t think I’d describe a population of 200,000 in a local board area as hyperlocal though. In NZ that would be one of our biggest cities – and definitely would have a newspaper. Do you have a particular local board area in mind.

    In NZ has a spinoff hyperlocal news site for Wellington city which has around 200k residents here.

    1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

      Agreed re hyperlocal! Elsewhere in the US, an area with 200k would also have a daily newspaper, TV station, etc. which makes NYC ripe for something like this.

      If NYC, I’d probably start on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. @JamesGRobinson says that neighborhood is the target readership of the NYT. Pulling an affluent – and underserved – readership to WT makes sense to me strategically.

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        I love the idea and I personally want to see WT go in the direction of hyper-local. My girlfriend lives in Upper West Side Manhattan. I can see if she knows people who would like to get involved. It would be helpful though to know what sort of stories you have in mind?

        I also go visit her obviously. I think it would be great if y’all could create a pamphlet outlining the basic idea of reporting hyper-local news for WT, what sort of stories, basics of reporting, etc. Or even just something to grab people’s attention. We can pass them out on the street and see what happens.

        1. [ This comment is from a user you have muted ] (show)

          For example I can image news related to farmer’s markets, after school programs, local theater events, crime, traffic, general events, politics, etc. What about store promotions, yard sales, or things that might be considered as advertising?

          I can imagine people in the Bronx like the Bronx River Alliance might find this platform useful as well:

          Edited: 2018-12-14 18:36:34 By Joseph Olson (talk | contribs) + 226 Characters .. + 99% change.‎‎ (Note | Diff)

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