'cos everyone LOVES a good case study.
Perhaps one of the advantages of hyperlocal over BIG media is that you can put a face to the stories. We're not talking about crappy byline pics, either.
Telling a local story online is still about the facts, but it is also about how the story was created. Once you've explained the five W's then you get to give a little commentary about how you found these facts.
It's a style that BIG media doesn't really have the freedom to experiment with, unless you dig deep, deep below the layers of blogs and comment sections.
I turn to BIG media for facts and facts alone. I look towards hyperlocal to get a little more familiarity and personality within my patch.
And so #FLcommunityjourno 1.7 - 1.9 has a couple of case study videos.
First off it was Rhondda People and the collaborative approach to hyperlocal. This is a way of working that I've always been interested in, but in reality I know it just isn't for me. There's no harm in having a little bit of the friendly Dictator within your hyperlocal model...
Observation: The Rhondda People team all look incredibly young.
Not a criticism, just a passing comment.
Is this a problem? Probably not. We're all (kinda) faceless online anyway.
I loved the way that the workflow is organised by Rhonna People. The importance of face-to-face weekly meetings to carve up the news list can't be underestimated. Working online is of course ACE, but the subtleties of communication tend to get a little lost.
The advice of "just do it" is no cliche - it is what makes hyperlocal happen. You can sit around and ponder a grand plan and strategy. This amounts to nothing though unless you make those first online and offline connections that will hopefully grow.
The Rhondda team signed off by stating that:
"The main form of community communication is now digital platforms."
And here lies the paradox of hyperlocal.
You want to connect with members of your immediate community, and in doing this you find that your local community is best connected online. I often think that shouting through the wall in a friendly way to the neighbours would be better than banging out a forum post.
Will and Sarah were then featured in the next #FLcommunityjourno video. Will's hyperlocal patch is KX whilst Sarah covers Richmond in North Yorkshire. They also work collectively on TAL, advising others in how to set up a hyperlocal.
Sarah's initial approach was to identify other people in her community who were already active online. It's all about the network, as my favourite tweet (from Will...) keeps on reminding me.
I liked the transition offline that Sarah then explained. Having made the online contacts, she then took up residency in a local cafe once a week to talk things through with others.
The building up of Will's KX network was almost the opposite approach. He found himself harvesting email content, which then needed a more organised and collaborative means in which to be published. A blog seemed perfect for this.
The power of RSS features heavily in this video.
RSS is dead (according to Google...) - long live RSS.
My daily content consumption (ha!) is built around RSS. I work my way through headlines and content in the same way that I use to read my local newspaper from front to back, including all of the classified ads.
Maybe this is the one lesson from #FLcommunityjourno?
Will mentioned how Facebook has become a game changer for his work. It's a route that I would rather not go down. I actively make a point of stating that the FB page for the Wivenhoe Forum is simply a feed. There is no 'engagement' [URGH] there - not from me, anyway.
I would rather the community content not be farmed out and have crappy FB ads littering up the local messages.
I should write a case study on the Wivenhoe Forum one day, Comrades...