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HS sports is the most promising hyperlocal news experiment yet. But, Murdoch has taken the field with the boldest play of all. 8/28/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Uncategorized.
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It is natural to be more interested in news that affects us personally — news about our families, friends, and communities is preferable to news about our cities, countries, and foreign nations. This has been the great failure of Old Media, which uses technology that essentially cannot bring us news below the metro level. This has also been the great promise of the Internet, which in theory can. While social computing sites like Facebook and MySpace are already bringing us news of family and friends, a formula for news of our hyperlocal communities has been elusive — at least until now.

With the introduction of high school sports sites (see LostRemote), which allow individuals to view and upload news of people they know in their community, hyperlocal news has taken a major leap forward. This may be the first hyperlocal news idea that passes a standard I suggested a few weeks ago, the “Tell-a-Friend Test” — news that has sufficient personal impact that viewers feel compelled to pass it on to someone else. Ironically, this great advance is also a great return to the lost-but-not-forgotten gold standard from pre-printing press days. Back then, news was spread by word-of-mouth, satisfying our irresistible urges to bond with others and feel a sense of belonging to a community by participating in the flow of news.

By entering this hyperlocal space with FOX HiLites, News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch has shown he is interested in: 1) participating in every type of news there is, all the way down to the hyperlocal level; 2) marketing all his online and broadcast news properties under the “Fox” brand name; and 3) continuing on a path toward transforming his Fox local TV affiliates into online portals to the entire world of news, ultimately replacing newspapers and TV news. While other news outlets now scramble just to field an online team, Murdoch’s News Corp sits in a league of its own.

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