How big is a hyperlocal patch? My final word on the size of a hyperlocale

Over the summer I wrote some pieces regarding the scale at which hyperlocal media production might operate. It involved talking about postcodes, more postcodes and US cable TV and its broadcast footprints. Beyond that, I’ve been reading articles that claim all manner of sizes and shapes for hyperlocal media – up to and including whole US states – and I’ve distilled it all down to this, the cut and keep “how big is a hyperlocal patch?” definition:

Hyperlocal media can be plotted within a macro-organisational scale that describes media-space relations. It sits beneath local media in this scale and is bound to an area (which I call a hyperlocale) that ranges downwards from a UK postcode district. This gives an upper population for a hyperlocale of 22,500 people, though realistically many hyperlocales serve much smaller populations. There is a strand of the literature on hyperlocal media that is concerned with the manner in which many hyperlocales can be represented together within an aggregated service that covers a locality, region, and nation (or a US state). Such services can be described as hyperlocal media, but researchers should be aware of the distinction between the hyperlocale and the overall hyperlocal media service.

Of course, the size of a hyperlocale is one thing, but it’s nowhere near defining what hyperlocal media is.

By 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: Find out about my work at the Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research: