Hyperlocal: community media / commercial media / other

Hyperlocal is a tricky thing to study because there are so many different types of media work and media texts coalesced into the term. It’s almost easier to chart the differences between different projects than it is to pinpoint what they have in common.

To illustrate this, let’s look at two different incentives that are common but not consistent within hyperlocal: making money and doing social good. When we do that it’s quite easy to see three groups of people who we might expect to see working within hyperlocal:

Hyperlocal Players

So within this space there is commercial media and community media, and there is also the hybrid matter of social enterprise (which links up, of course with the Conservative’s Big Society policy agenda).

Spot the question marks? I nearly put “trolls” in here. I can’t actually think of anything that really fits in here, to be honest. But don’t worry – it’s only a model and I didn’t have time to build it to scale or to paint it.


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Jon Hickman

Hi, I'm Jon. I teach and research digital culture, social media and new media practice at Birmingham City University. Find out more about me with this lovely CV: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/jonhickman Find out about my work at the Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research: http://interactivecultures.org

  • http://kindofdigital.com/ Dave Briggs

    If we’re talking local media, surely the question marks are the local newspapers? After all, they don’t make any money and their civic contribution is pretty negligible…

    • Jon Hickman

      Thanks Dave

      Their main incentive is financial so I would put hyperlocal activity by commercial media operators into the entrepreneurship area – perhaps the alternative lable “capitalist” would be better?

  • http://etc Jon Bounds

    I think i’ve got the fourth space, but no real word for it. It’s people that do some stuff that create content that could be termed hyperlocal but don’t see that as their motivation.

    People having fun, maybe.

    • Jon Hickman

      I totally get that idea, and I know of lots of projects that an outsider might see as “hyperlocal” but which either actively reject the label or don’t know / don’t care that hyperlocal is a thing. I’m really interested in those sorts of projects.

      I was looking at projects that are identified as hyperlocal in some way. Perhaps I should make a model that includes that group, but I’m not sure it would take this form at all