Apparently people care most about news, which happens where they live, or so says the BBC.

With the rise of the web, hyperlocal news has emerged as a new trend (and our free local website publishing platform OurLocality and OurLocality News is just one manifestation of this), which has affected local newspapers. It is hard to say that anything yet has emerged that is well-curated or that good.

Now the BBC has recently stepped in to suggest working in partnership with local and regional news players, which could be interesting, as they don’t – like some local news players – put information behind a paywall. Here’s what they are proposing:

  • A Local Accountability Reporting service: Through the licence fee a (fully?) funded network of 100 public service reporters keeping an eye on councils, courts and public services across the UK (they certainly could do with closer scrutiny);  for use and re-use  by any other reputable news organisation. Any local organisation, not just the BBC, could compete to provide the reporting.
  • A shared data journalism centre: A hub for data – but perhaps falling short of an OpenMedia concept – but for news and information based on data sources, including government data. This would be a breath of fresh air if local government data were laid bare for analysis by news and other organisations.
  • News Bank to syndicate content: So BBC’s regional video and local audio would be made freely available for immediate re-use on the internet services. Great if it means that you can remix it and it doesn’t mean flooding the web with the same old videos (of kittens swimming.)
  • Strengthening BBC news in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland: Providing devolved countries with what they want in terms of the balance between national and UK-wide news. Great as long as long local doesn’t displace more important stuff with the mundane, mediocre or prosaic.
  • Reflecting local culture: With the Arts Councils, local arts producers would be introduced in each English region to work with local cultural organisations and deliver new Local Radio arts content. Now that sounds to me like something they need to broaden to the devolved nations.

The full report, which I have skimmed is here, but I did listen more carefully to what Tony Hall had to say (see the video embedded below).

The big question is whether a smaller BBC, yes that is exactly what is planned, with even greater competition on the web and commercial content delivery networks will still be able to punch above its weight (the above is a fraction of what is planned).

I’m also not joking, but the consultation ends on bonfire night, so recommend you get over there and have your say before the BBC bonfire.

We’re also beginning to look at ways of making OurLocality pay for itself and allow it to grow and perhaps expand too, with more on that in follow-up posts over the next few weeks.

Interested in hyperlocal? Check out Nesta.