A number of major newspapers have stopped the presses in recent years. Meanwhile, community journalism sites have sprung up from Seattle to Springfield. Media gurus declared “hyperlocalism” to be the future of journalism and a path for out-of-work reporters. A few big ticket news outfits took that bet, including AOL, which launched Patch.com in 2010. A few years on, hyper-local phenomenon takes many forms, with differing degrees of success. AOL reported losing $147 million dollars on Patch in 2011, so maybe news of town hall meetings, police blotter reports, and high school sports might not be as bankable as once thought.
Janet Stilson, is freelance writer and contributor to Adweek where she wrote about challenges facing digital community news.