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BBC should link to hyperlocal news sites, says report

The BBC should increase its local news coverage by linking to hyperlocal websites, a new research study has recommended.

The charity Nesta has carried out a year-long programme on hyperlocal media, called Destination Local, which included giving funding to ten hyperlocal projects to help them develop their mobile platforms.

It has now produced an interim report, entitled ‘Destination Local: Our Lessons to Date’, which looks into the progress of the sites and puts forward a series of recommendations about how hyperlocal sites can be boosted.

This includes the BBC linking from its websites to a wider range of hyperlocal news organisations, as well as websites operated by newspaper groups, which it said should be achived as a “matter of priority”.

It comes after the corporation came under fire last month from local press bosses over its”thuggish” attitude to the local media.

Industry leaders including KM Group boss Geraldine Allinson and Local World chief Steve Auckland hit out at the BBC for failing to credit local newspapers for stories and consistently treating them as competitors.

The Nesta report said: “The BBC should link from its websites to a broader range of hyperlocal media organisations.

“By opening its website to more external links to trusted stand-alone hyperlocal services, as well as to websites operated by newspaper groups, the BBC can address concerns about the lack of ‘local’ news on, without needing to make significant investments in local staff and offices.

“Audiences would gain through having access to a wider range of more granular content, while the services themselves would gain through increased traffic to their services.”

Other recommendations include hyperlocal sites forming partnerships with larger local media organisations, such as regional newspapers, to increase their prominence and drive traffic to the smaller sites.

It also suggests hyperlocal sites should consider forming an industry association so they can co-operate together and said local authorities should engage more with the hyperlocal sector.

The report also highlights the financial issues that hyperlocal sites could face, with the ten projects funded by the body struggling to make a profit.

The sites which received funding last year include Kentishtowner, Our Town in Glasgow and My Town, which was launched by former NWN Media editor-in-chief Graham Breeze.

The full report can be viewed here.


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  • June 26, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Potentially a good idea, but need to give some thought to what sites we, BBC and other people should link to
    Should this include sites that subscribe to clear journalistic standards? Should it include sites that just cut and paste press releases?

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  • June 26, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Just wondering, what the hell does hyperlocal mean? Or do we mean just plain local?

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  • June 26, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Most of the local sites are owned by big conglomerate private corporations. Why should they be getting free traffic? Different if the locals were small indies

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  • June 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    In utopia perhaps but (and it’s a BIG but) the BBC is internally very competitive and wants visitors to stay on their site, reading their articles. It’s what justifies each department’s funding and keeps their jobs.

    The BBC also needs to strictly regulate what it is seen to ‘endorse’ which means keeping tight control on content. Even with a disclaimer, if the local sites hosted unsavory content, it would reflect badly so is unlikely to be something they’d consider.

    To top this off, it IS hard to make money from the hours put into local content, so why would anyone drive traffic away from their own site. Whoever came up with this report is clearly not thinking from a business perspective. This will never happen.

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