Hyperlocal news sites on the rise

In “‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers,” Claire Cain Miller and Brad Stone of The New York Times ask, “If your local newspaper shuts down, what will take the place of its coverage?” The answer: “Perhaps a package of information about your neighborhood, or even your block, assembled by a computer.”

The authors note that “Internet companies have been trying to develop such sites for more than a decade, in part as a way to lure local advertisers to the Web. But the notion of customized news has taken on greater urgency as some newspapers, like The Rocky Mountain News and The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, have stopped printing.”

Gary Kebbel, the journalism program director for the Knight Foundation, backer of 35 local Web experiments, points out that the news business “is in a difficult time period right now, between what was and what will be. Our democracy is based upon geography, and we believe local information is such a core need for our democracy to survive.”

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