South Africa’s media landscape has continued to grow in leaps and bounds and consequently defying odds in the midst of various economic and social impediments. While the general media sentiment and focus has been directed towards the fast-rising and commanding emergency of digital media, there is one area of the media industry which continues to remain relevant and essential to the wellbeing of the media space, this media segment is hyperlocal community news. Hive Digital Media has tapped into the strength of hyperlocal news in its quest to inform, educate and entertain communities around the country.
What is hyperlocal community news?
Hyperlocal community news outlets are formed on the basis of providing news and information which is relevant to close-knit communities and neighbourhoods. The idea in a nutshell is to tell unique untold stories with a local angle and in a relatable way which major traditional media houses don’t pay attention to. This approach to media operations and information dissemination allows day to day community activities and events such as health, business, security and crime, education, sports etc, to be given in-depth and unbiased media coverage which resonates with community readers.
Hive Digital Media hyperlocal ability
In order to meet this need for hyperlocal news in communities around South Africa and to better assist business houses to reach various niche markets, Hive Digital Media has tapped into the strength and deep-rooted reach of Caxton’s Local News Network (LNN) which currently boasts of 59 hyperlocal community newspapers in communities around the country. These community newspapers exist in both print and digital formats with very active websites and engagement in place.
Self-moderated citizen media
This type of hyperlocal community news approach allows people to post their everyday stories on a platform without undue filtering and editing processes.
Involved proprietors on blogs
This type of hyperlocal news outlet has identified and credible bloggers who write and review local events with a unique local tone. This is often spiced up with blog polls and the active participation of community members through comments on published content.
Aggregated hyperlocal community news depends on stories from other sites which are relevant to the local community. Aggregation is done by linking to the stories.
Maps are used in hyperlocal community news to alert or sensitise community members on prevailing conditions and developments in and around the community.
Mobile journalism is a one-man newsroom out in the field covering community news and events relevant to the community with videos, photos and easy to read stories.
Email lists and online forums
Email lists and online forums are still very effective by allowing content to be delivered in one email and allowing community members and readers to respond or post on their own terms.
How important is hyperlocal community news in our neighbourhoods?
Promotion of democratic rights and freedoms
South Africa is a democratic country where fundamental freedom of expression is cardinal. Hyperlocal news, therefore, promotes freedom of expression on matters which affect local communities especially on civic matters like municipal services, elections, civic responsibilities, the performance of local elected officials and the general state of the community.
Community identity is an important aspect of building a united, secure and progressive community and country. Hyperlocal community news outlets allow community members to identify themselves with a media house they call their own and the general populace can in turn identify a particular community based on what’s published on a hyperlocal news platform.
Encouraging informed and active citizenship
Information is power so they say. Hyperlocal community news platforms, therefore, keep community members informed on important aspects of their daily life but also on emerging developments which negatively or positively affect their wellbeing.
Community discourse and community cohesion are promoted by allowing community members to distribute and share content in various formats such as photos, videos and even letters.
Advertising for local products, businesses or services
Segment and niche marketing have proven to be very effective methods of developing a business and making record sales. Local and national business enterprises, therefore, count on hyperlocal community news outlets to market their products and services. Hive Digital Media has put in place a responsive sales team which allows businesses to reach communities they would struggle to reach.
From the above points, it’s clear to see that hyperlocal news will continue to be relevant and an important part of the media and community environment.
Contact our team at [email protected] to find out more.