‘I’ve Started a Hyperlocal, so now what?’

Authored by: Marco van Kerkhoven

The Routledge Companion to Local Media and Journalism

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815375364
eBook ISBN: 9781351239943
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351239943-29

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Abstract

Independent online news start-ups have gained ground in local media ecosystems. However, as studies on hyperlocal initiatives in the Netherlands show, while starting a hyperlocal is clearly easy, maintaining a viable business is surprisingly hard. The motivations to start a local news website are for the better part grounded in the perception of a local news gap due to retracting legacy media, and in promising commercial objectives. In terms of strategy and claimed engagement – or business success for that matter – there are only few differences between ideologically non-profit hyperlocals and commercial initiatives or expending (existing) media chains. A common strategy seems that owners operate the service on a ‘no-staff, no-budget’ basis. Most sites rely on banner advertising. Crowdfunding is attempted on a small scale only. Lacking significant investments, stacking a local media ecosystem with new initiatives is evidently difficult. However, once local media initiatives have their business model, the question arises: ‘I’ve started a hyperlocal, so now what?’

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