Hyperlocal Papers Head in a New Direction

As newspapers struggle to stay afloat editors must discover more interesting ways to present the news. An online hyperlocal publication in has reverted to classic reporting with a twist, and it seems to be working.

Baristanet is an online paper set in Montclair, New Jersey that focuses on Montclair and its surrounding towns. Site founder Debbie Galant and her Daily editor Erika Bleiberg can work from a coffee shop and run their paper, taking tips from anyone who walks in the door or posts online.

The paper focuses on a life on the street feel rather than following traditional trends and staying formal. Baristanet could potentially start a shift towards an informal and more personal style of reporting for local papers.

“We’re not the newspaper of record,” Galant says. “We go for more of a life on the street feel, finding the things you see out of the corner of your eye that are interesting. We want to start a conversation. If you read Baristanet, you’ll be versed. If you go to a dinner party, you’ll have something to talk about.”

Instead of covering everything from city council meetings to a local’s vacation adventure, newpapers are readjusting and the future appears to be veering away from the comprehensive format.

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3 Comments on “Hyperlocal Papers Head in a New Direction”

  1. niswatson says:

    This seems to be a very effective way to get people involved in what is happening in their area, a main purpose of journalism(more for democracy in general, but still applicable). Similar to my post, people are more interested in the local events than occurences anywhere outside of their town. With this development, it allows people to know more about what is happening around them, information they can’t find anywhere else. Also, the informal style makes the reader feel more like an insider, someone who might be able to join in on the action happening right around the block.

  2. carrendale says:

    I would have to agree with the previous post. Growing up in the new media era, it obvious that news organizations are going to have to make a change if they want to remain relevant. i don’t know exactly what that change will look like, no one does, but I like what this publication is attempting to do by making the news more personal. I think it is a great idea as a reporter to get out of the newsroom and put yourself in places where you can achieve a more “life on the street feel.” I also like that they are using the internet more as a resource for story ideas. As illustrated by Twitter and Facebook, people living in our era like to talk about themselves. Alot. Most of the time this is a bad thing, but every once in a while that can be an extremely good resource to use for stories.

  3. While a creative alternative to a true local news organization, I believe this type of site should coincide with the local newspaper. Everyone has a story and wants others to hear it. Facebook and other social media tells us that. But people still need to have a place to get the facts about day-to-day issues aside from adventurous family vacations, gossip, and happenings “on the street.” What would be a cool idea would be to have this as a special section in a local newspaper daily or weekly. Have the site linked to the local paper’s site. Integrate the “life on the street” news with life in the town, region, and world news. It would boost readership for both organizations, bringing the audience of the website/blog and the local paper together.


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