Regarding the concept of “hyperlocal”, Chris Anderson (of the Long Tail fame) theorizes on his blog that “our interest in a subject is in inverse proportion to its distance (geographic, emotional or otherwise) from us. For instance, the news that my daughter got a scraped knee on the playground today means more to me than a car bombing in Kandahar.”
He calls it “the Vanishing Point theory of news”.
He adds: “There’s nothing new about this (it’s a truism of the American newsroom that Paris, Texas counts for more than Paris, France), but it bears repeating. The future of media is to stop boring us with news that doesn’t relate to our lives. I’ll start reading my “local” newspaper again when it covers my block. “
(found via Terry Heaton’s PoMo Blog )
What it means: Even though I am a strong believer in hyperlocal content being key to the evolution of local media, I’m not sure I completely endorse this theory (full-disclosure: I’m a newspaper junkie). Would a “local” paper without national or international news make it more relevant? It’s possible but in this case, you’d need another newspaper to quench your international news needs. And maybe that’s truly the future of the newspaper industry. In a few years, you might find only authoritative international newspaper brands (New York Times, Le Monde, The Guardian, La Stampa, The Globe & Mail, etc.) and strong hyperlocal newspapers. All the ones in the middle will either have evolved or died. This is very similar to what happened in the retail business.