By: Pauline Millard
“Hyper-local” is one is those buzz words floating around news outlets lately about how to keep readers as they move and float far afield online. The idea is to give readers a place where they can find details (sometimes mundane) about their local community, while leaving larger, national and world news, to bigger media outlets.
Today the Washington Post launched a new, hyper-local Web site that focuses on Loudoun County in Virginia. It’s a community about 25 miles south of Washington DC. The county of 272,000 already has five weekly newspapers and one launched its own hyperlocal Web site. Nevertheless, Washington Post executives hope that LoudounExtra.com will be a way to attract new advertising dollars as the Post’s circulation numbers decline.
Overall, the site looks pretty good. It has a clean design, not cluttered and it is easy to navigate. The “cover story” is about how residents without a car are stuck in terms of transportation. From there the staffers have dug into a lot of the nooks and crannies of the community and are covering sports, real estate, religion, entertainment and lifestyle. There are restaurant guides and reviews. It’s a good resource.
There are also blogs about everything from schools to being a volunteer fireman. They even created some multimedia projects, including an audio slideshow about a church that dates back to 1896. There is also a charming video about how a couple of rural kids are getting ready to show their pigs, llamas and rabbits at the Loudoun County fair.
In one of the videos we meet 10-year-old Jacob Sacco, a boy who despite his young age seems to be quite good at raising pigs. Last year at the fair he won top honors for his pigs, but admits that he didn’t like to see the pigs get bought and then butchered.
“Last year I didn’t want to get rid of Fred,” he said sadly. “He was my best friend, and all that stuff.”
I have a feeling that the hyper-local trend is going to continue to grow, especially if the ad dollars follow. Has your paper tried it? Be sure to let me know.
A few of my past Picks:
Newark ‘Star-Ledger’ Revisits The 1967 Riots
How ‘Financial Times’Brings Business News to the Web
SeattleTimes.com Gets in on Video
Boston.com Uses Slideshow to Show Possible Effects ofGlobal Warming