The Hyperlocal ‘Renaissance’ in Australia and New Zealand

Authored by: Scott Downman , Richard Murray

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:


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Digital disruption has had a profound impact on local news production in Australia and New Zealand. Rationalised newsrooms and the streamlining of local news services has resulted in a decline of diversity in local news stories. Some publications have shut their doors; others now eke out a news service with skeleton editorial staff. The result is that people in local communities are largely losing connection to issues and important stories in their communities. This chapter investigates how local communities are responding to these news deserts by examining the emergence of hyperlocal news enterprises in niche communities. The chapter will showcase three enterprises, two in Australia and one in New Zealand, that have emerged to fill vital news voids. Although each of the enterprises is different in its scope and target audience, there are common threads binding each of the journalism start-ups. For example, each has a clearly defined demographic it is attempting to reach. Each enterprise uses non-traditional and experimental elements in both newsgathering and storytelling. Each enterprise is ‘grassroots’ in its approach, with an ethos that respects audience and delivers authentic narratives. The chapter reveals hyperlocal journalism is testing the boundaries of what constitutes journalism in a digitally disrupted world.

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