Talking about things local
Last year we wrote a post on how we were archiving community news websites, or hyperlocal sites, as part of our non-print legal deposit web archiving plans. Part of the great upheaval taking place at the moment in how news is produced, distributed, consumed and shared is the rise in self-produced news web services, usually serving a small community. The trend started in America, where it was given the name 'hyperlocal', and has spread vigorously to the UK, where it has caught the eye of funding bodies, academics and campaigners.
The British Library's strategy for news collection extends beyond newspapers to encompass all forms in which the news is produced and communicated across the UK. So it is important that we capture hyperlocal sites, just the same as we are capturing newspapers, the websites of newspapers, television and radio news. Sites such as The City Talking (Leeds), Brixton Blog, Papur Dre (Caernarfon)), Little Bit of Stone (Stone in Staffordshire) and Port Talbot MagNet are redefining what news is and who owns it.
The blog post attracted some interest, and since writing it we have - with the help of Dave Harte of Birmingham City University - identified some 500 hyperlocal websites from across the UK that we have now started archiving on a regular basis, and tagging as hyperlocal sites so that they and the phenomenon can be more easily traced by researchers in the future.
As part of our commitment to hyperlocal news, we are delighted to be playing host on Saturday 28 February to an 'unconference' organised by hyperlocal champions Talk About Local. An unconference is a conference without an agenda, as the idea is that the audience turns up and decides what the day should be about. So we can't tell you as such what is going to feature during the day, but the Talk About Local blog suggests that themes could include the upcoming general election, crowdfunding, the BBC and local news, working with the police, and working with local newspapers. Many of those attending will be producers of hyperlocal sites - a community of their own - and it is going to be exciting to see how this new newsform, still on a few years old, is shaping up to manage the great challenge of reporting the worlds most immediately around us today.
Tickets for the unconference (named #TAL15) can be booked here.