The day my hyperlocal blog post was published in a major regional newspaper

Plenty of people will be skeptical about this bit of news but boy am I excited. I’d love to hear if this has happened before or not, but so far it’s the first time that I’m aware of, and I’m chuffed it’s me.

If you pick up a copy of the Birmingham Mail today you will see, on page 29, an article about Lichfield’s Fuse Festival that I originally wrote for The Lichfield Blog, and with pictures taken by our resident photographer, Nick Brickett.

This represents the first fruit from what looks like a very healthy tree of collaboration between the hyperlocal site I volunteer for and Britain’s biggest newspaper group. It’s the realisation of my long held vision of how hyperlocal will contribute to the local media industry – what I like to call the ‘news onion‘.

David Higgerson and I lead a #TAL10 panel on collaboration between hyperlocal and regional media.
David Higgerson and I lead a #TAL10 panel on collaboration between hyperlocal and regional media.*

Trinity Mirror’s David Higgerson and I led a session at the Talk About Local unconference in Leeds back in April that dealt specifically with collaboration between organisations like ours. We went through ideas for how we could work together, and took many suggestions and comments from the audience. In all I felt it was productive and it helped David and I to move forward with our own collaboration of which today is the culmination.

The details of how this relationship will mature are still undecided but there is certainly more to come and plenty more discussions to be had. That said, the next few months will prove very exciting.

*Photo by the venerable Josh Halliday.

15 thoughts on “The day my hyperlocal blog post was published in a major regional newspaper”

  1. Thanks guys. Ed – that’s great that you have that platform, too.

    We’re working on the details of how TLB benefits, but it’s a great start and I’m confident it’s going to be a good, mutually beneficial relationship.

  2. Congratulation Philip – would be very interested in hearing what you got back from it. Like many, I remain somewhat skeptical about the motives of traditional media engaging with hyperlocals so it would be refreshing to hear that this wasn’t just a one way street. After all, to cover the event anywhere near the quality you and Nick managed would have incurred some serious costs in terms of manpower had the Birmingham Mail covered it themselves.

  3. Good to see your writing getting off-Net recognition – must have been quite a buzz to see it in print! I suspect that you might be buying an extra copy of the paper for your Mum 🙂

    As other commenters have pointed out above, it’s important – nay vital – that you receive proper payment for your copy.

    I really hope this is the case. From the #TAL10 session, it wasn’t clear that the newspaper publishers in the room felt that paying for content was their highest priority.

    You’re plowing a fresh furrow here, so your early actions are possibly setting the die for the future for many more.

    It’s a heady responsibility, but one that must be borne.

    If payment isn’t received, the danger is that newspaper groups will see blog content as free content to pump into their paper, filling the gap left by the journalists that they have laid off.

    … and on a lighter note – Well done!

  4. No pressure then 😉

    Just to be clear, I really don’t see this as a transaction of any sort. It’s not a case of “you print this article, we get X, Y and Z” – there’s more to it than that.

  5. Congrats – would be good to see a copy of the piece and how the Mail has accredited it. Has there been any upturn in your web traffic? And has it gone online as well?

  6. Just to pick up on the points made by VentnorBlog, I don’t think – and no-one I work with said otherwise when we’ve discussed developing relationships with hyperlocals – that we’re replacing content created by journalists with content provided by hyperlocal sites for free. There is just no way such an approach could, or would, work. What we’re trying to do is find a way which enables ‘traditional media’ newsrooms to work with hyperlocal sites in a way which ensures both parties get something out of it.

    Like Will says, the challenge is to make sure both sides do get enough out of it to make it work. That’s what we’re keen to keeping working away at, and hopefully we’ll be able to convince people who are unsure about what we’re doing that we’re at least trying to go about it in the right way.

    In the end, I think we’ll have a variety of different relationships with different hyperlocal and community sites.

  7. I think it’s important to remember that there’s lots of different reasons people run ‘hyperlocal’ blogs. Some people just do it out of love for it, some want to further careers and others want to make a bit of cash. Plus a host of other reasons I’m sure!

    As David Higgerson said, every relationship will be different due to the nature of each blog, media organisation and the individuals involved.

  8. Newspapers have to look to the net and blogs, especially blogs such as this, to help them with their reporting of news story. This is even more important today as local stories can often be missed due to the newspapers having had to drastically cut back on journalists.

    This is very much a sign of the dominance of the internet over printed news, but also detrimental to local stories now being lost in the vast expanse of the net.

    So if a local paper is highlighting good local news blogs, then surely this must be a good thing, and something that should be developed.

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