The Google County Times: The Future of Local News?

Google has hatched a plan to boost the visibility of its existing local news product, and in the process is testing a whole new way to get people to pay attention to the news that is geographically most relevant to them.

Google is testing a local news “card” in its Google Now service, which is built into all new Android smartphones and is available on the iPhone through Google’s Search app. Google Now is a logical vehicle for local news because one of its primary functions is knowing where you are and providing information that is “contextually relevant” to you, as specified by your interests, the time of day, and your location.

This beta test has not been previously disclosed, and is currently being carried out solely within Google itself, but its existence was revealed to me last week in an interview with Johanna Wright, vice president of search and assist at Google.

Read more. [Image: Darryl Dyck/AP]

© Courtesy of Bandit Brewing Company

Travel Tuesday: According to the Craft Brewers Association, the explosion of breweries in the United States now tops 4,000—up from just 500 in 1995. And almost half of those are producing less than 500 barrels of beer a year. That means there is an excellent chance that a hyper-local nanobrewery is making great beer someplace near you. Here, 50 amazing nanobreweries in 50 states

Neighborhoodr launches in 25 cities!

We are now available in the following cities:

El Paso
Fort Worth
Los Angeles
New York
San Antonio
San Diego
San Francisco
San Jose

Over time, cities will have their individual neighborhoods represented, as the demand for that neighborhood presents itself. Tell us what’s happening in your neighborhood by clicking one of the links at the top of each city page. If we receive or see enough content from any particular neighborhood, we’ll launch a neighborhood page devoted to that hood.

I’m extremely excited to see Neighborhoodr spread outside of the 60+ neighborhoods we cover in New York City and look forward to discovering more about the neighborhoods that you live in.

Putting my money where my typing is

I’ve previously complained about the costs and challenges of starting an enterprise and about how I hate not doing any journalism and how much I loathe being stuck in my hometown of Rutland, Vt.

Well, after a particularly uninspiring week of dreary, non-paying, non-journalism jobs, I decided to take the bull by the horns: I’m starting a hyperlocal journalism website. I’ll add skills and real world experience to my resume and hopefully shake things up at that notorious broadsheet, The Rutland Herald – the straw that broke the camel’s back was reading a story wherein “mores,” as in the social standards, was spelled “morays,” as in more than one eel. Oddly, the reporter who wrote that story is probably their most competant and professional. If I’m really lucky I’ll be able to help effect some changes that will make this place a more decent place to live.

If all goes to plan I’ll be able to get out of here.

So I’ve started The Rutland Advocate. It’s not live yet, but I’m blogging about the experience here.

Neighborhoodr : A Case Study

Nick Alexopulos, a graduate student (and PR professional) at the University of Maryland put together a short case study about Neighborhoodr for his Entrepreneurial Journalism class.

It’s a really excellent overview of our massive growth over the last year since our launch and goes into a bit about the overall hyperlocal space.

Check it out at the link above.

Politicians in Rajasthan speak about the growing trend in Indian newspapers to offer politicians favorable coverage for money. “A local paper offered me a package,” said a Rajasthan lawmaker. If he paid the amount of money that particular newspaper was demanding, he would get favorable coverage. If he declined to pay, the newspaper would slander him in its pages.

Vinay Sitapati, The New York Times. Hindi Paper Finds Success Going Hyperlocal.

FJP: Sketchy business model of its competitors aside, this is a fascinating profile of the Patrika newspaper group in India.

Rajasthan Patrika, which is printed in 33 main and 250 local editions has a readership of 14.6 million steadily grown since 1956 when its founder started the paper with a $8.30 loan. Yes, eight dollars and 30 cents.

Its growth has been attributed, in part, to focusing on the hyperlocal and going where other publishers have no reporters.

Rajasthan Patrika has not been accused of participating in the pay scheme indicated in the quote above.