Hyperlocal and mainstream: It doesn’t have to one versus the other

The relationship between mainstream publisher and hyperlocal site has the potential to be an excellent one, beneficial to both parties.

But it also has the ability to be an incredibly fractious one – and it appears that in East Yorkshire, the latter sentiment appears to be the one which will be most prevelent for a long time to come.

Today, the Hull Daily Mail reported – I’ve not seen the paper so I don’t know if it splashed on it – on how the man behind the HU17 website was also responsible for a number of porn sites.

The hook for the story is that the HU17 website has been supported – verbally – by local councillors, and that a local MP has also received website advice from the chap behind HU17.

But here’s the rub: None of the porn sites actually do anything illegal. The councillors aren’t supporting the entrepreneur, but one of his initiatives. ‘Councillor in porn shame’ this story is not.

So why go after the chap involved like this? I’ve no idea of the previous relationship between the Hull Daily Mail and HU17 prior to today – I can hazard a guess – but I’m pretty certain of the status of the relationship now. HU17’s own take on the story makes that clear.

What shouts through on the Hull Daily Mail’s website is the fact there are so many supporters of HU17. At the time of writing, there are more than 200 comments on there.  It’s a paradox of such stories that websites being criticised for what they have written often see a traffic spike and increase in registered commenters.

There are 35 on HU17, all supportive. HU17 clearly has a lot of support locally, and a story to generate 205 comments on a daily newspaper website is quite remarkable (especially on a story which tells you to buy the paper to read the full story). It does beg the question who is tuned in more to the local audience.

And that brings me neatly, I hope, to the issue of the relationship between hyperlocal and traditional media player. There are those on both sides of the fence who seek to do down the other, but I still firmly believe that by working together, we can achieve a lot more than working in isolation of each other.

It won’t always work, and there will be errors on both sides. But rather than be seen as polar opposites, in many ways they two complement each other

Sadly, it seems that such a scenario will be unlikely in a town near Hull for a good while yet.

3 comments

  1. This incident is likely to be held up as “how not to deal with hyperlocal/community/local websites” – I just had a skim through the comments and the support for the HU17 founder and site in general is phenomenal.

    From my point of view, with yourCardiff we’re looking to work with local bloggers and websites – not resort to guarded protectionism and spontaneous attacks. The web is about linking, building a community and gaining trust, and working to connect online and offline.

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