By Steve Outing
I’ve been watching initiatives like Outside.in and Yourstreet.com with much interest. Both of those services seek out neighborhood news and information from many sources (including mainstream local news websites), giving online users a way to identify content that’s being published on the web pertinent to where they live. Both started as online pure-play destination sites, but with the intention of providing feeds (for a fee) to other local media sites.
Outside.in has taken a first step in offering feeds of neighborhood news to 1010 WINS, a 24-hour news station in New York. It’s providing local news for the five boroughs; here’s an example for the Bronx.
Here’s a quote from Outside.in co-founder Steven Berlin Johnson: “From the beginning we’ve imagined Outside.in’s hyperlocal coverage as something which would complement traditional media sites, and we’re delighted to have such a prominent news organization as one of our initial partners. These deals illustrate our understanding of local markets, and the ability to package this information in a way that can bring value to other media partners.”
For a news organization, whether you develop the technology to do this yourself, or partner with Outside.in or Yourstreet.com, I’d suggest that it’s super important to be gathering and filtering the web content that’s being produced outside your walls by all manner of community members. What the Outside.in and Yourstreet.com approaches represent is a way to geo-tag this content so that it can be targeted to those who care about it.
This is a point that I addressed in my latest Editor & Publisher Online column. The model of sucking up all the local community content that’s being produced online will turn up a lot of garbage along with the gems. But as the cliche goes, one man’s garbage is another’s treasure. So through targeting properly, this community-produced content can be valuable to segments of your audience.