| NAA mediaXchange is the largest annual gathering of industry executives in North America, offering unprecedented networking opportunities that combine an exchange of information and ideas with programming designed to generate results. The conference is designed to provide valuable ideas and insights to help newspaper professionals grow audience and revenue for their print and digital products. Sessions highlight leading-edge thinking about media strategies, successes in product and revenue development, new ideas and innovation inside and outside the industry, and tactics and techniques to employ in print and digital.
A tale of two hyperlocal cities - #NAAmXc11
By Fernando Valdes
The "Hyperlocal Strategies" session looked at how news organizations in Miami and Seattle are incorporating user-generated content and contributions from community correspondents.
Rick Hirsch, managing editor of The Miami Herald, explained how the newspaper collaborates with local bloggers and community correspondents from all over the Miami area. The partnership basically enables the bloggers and correspondents to publish their own content, which is prominently featured on the newspaper's site.
"Having these partners in neighborhoods is bringing us content that we simply are never going to have on our website," he said.
After one year of this hyperlocal strategy, The Herald realized a traffic increase of 500 percent across all sites. Visitors rose from an average of 80,000 in February 2010 to 500,000 a month in 2011.
Hirsch said he hopes that as the community sites get more traffic, advertising revenue will increase as a result of the opportunity for highly targeted advertising.
Mark Briggs, director of digital media for Belo's KING 5-TV in Seattle, has taken a different approach with implementing hyperlocal networks.
"What works in one neighborhood, because of the audience and the people behind it, might not work so well in other neighborhoods," he said as he detailed some of the reasons why hyperlocal networks are hard to implement.
Briggs, author of "Journalism 2.0: How to Survive and Thrive," added that "gathering content at this level is difficult, time-consuming and expensive unless the audience is helping them out."
KING-TV teamed up with The Seattle Times, which like The Miami Herald had partnered with community sites, to build and manage a local online advertising network.
They work with community bloggers and other online publications to sell ads on their sites, sharing the resulting revenue. The partnership has helped the community bloggers grow and has increased their viability.
"Our goal is to drive page views, advertising revenue and help them become a sustainable business. And that KING 5 makes money along the way," Briggs said.
Belo has decided to replicate the KING 5 model at its stations around the country within the next year or two.
>> View and download speaker presentations from the Hyperlocal Strategies session. (NAA Members Only)
Fernando Valdes is a student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Find out more about Fernando and other students reporting live from NAA's mediaXchange here.
Mar 28 2011, 10:26 AM
About Amanda Knowles
Amanda Knowles is Web & Social Media Manager at the Newspaper Association of America. Before coming to NAA, Amanda spent four years working in print journalism, both at the college and professional level. She has worked as a copy editor and news page designer for two daily newspapers in northwestern Pennsylvania, The Erie Times-News and The Meadville Tribune. Most recently, she collaborated on The American Observer, the online magazine edited and produced by graduate journalism students at American University in Washington, D.C. Amanda believes strongly in the secure future of the newspaper, and is excited to be a participant in the movement to integrate traditional print media into the burgeoning digital world.