New hyperlocal news site launches in Eastern Ontario
Prince Edward County, two hours east of Toronto on Lake Ontario, is the site of a new hyperlocal news project called countylive.ca, started by veteran journalist Sue Capon.
Working with her partner Amber Martin, a graphic designer, the pair have a storefront in Picton and publish solely online.
The enterprise is being well-received and provides a new dimension to coverage.
This is Capon’s description of the project in her own words.
I’m not hyper, but I am local
I’ll admit it. The hyperlocal website countylive.ca was designed and launched before I ever heard the word “hyperlocal”. Wikipedia told me it is “a new term used to refer to someone or something that is the best at connecting people, locally”.
Sold. I like that.
So while I had been congratulating myself on being a sharp-thinking entrepreneur who had risen from the ashes of an out-of-control newspaper field, Wiki slapped my back-patting when I read the term “hyperlocal” was first used in 1991 in reference to local television news content. I see there are thousands upon thousands of sites, blogs and comments on
hyperlocal good, bad and ugly.
But no matter what you call it, local content is key for community newspapers, magazines and websites to maintain readership. I don’t understand why media owners have such great difficulty with the concept and why they hold so many meetings on the subject and do endless studies. It really is a simple concept that most of the employees already understand. If you’re not providing what your readership wants to see, you’re not doing your job. And that applies to all departments.
Our complete vision of countylive.ca is massive, creative and incredibly ambitious. For now, in its infancy, we do what we can, as we can. I have been a newspaper editor for the past 26 years and a long-time computer geek (split personality PC and Mac). My business partner, Amber Martin, is an outrageously talented graphic designer. We worked together at our
community newspaper office (among five employees) so we had also been saddled with handling bits of what should be other people’s jobs – reception, accounting, classifieds, circulation, sales, pagination and IT tech work. However, that became solid, useful experience when we began to formulate countylive.ca late last summer.
We had no experience in web design, only maintenance. We didn’t know the difference between a page and a blog. Java was what came out of the coffee maker. A few quick courses later, we now understand HTML, hard code, SEO, CSS, Ap Divs, meta data, provider, Anne VanVlack of InfoLink, who is the pioneer of website design and execution in Prince Edward County.
countylive.ca has been eight weeks on the “interweb” and has a Facebook fan/like page. Twitter yet to take flight. Residents of Prince Edward County, for the most part, are not quite ready to Tweet. Many are still waiting to receive high-speed service at their rural homes. And there are still those who won’t pay $50 a month for high speed when they currently
pay that sum for three months of dial-up. In those respects, countylive.ca is a bit ahead of the curve and will continue to focus on building a loyal audience.
When you check out the site atwww.countylive.ca, click on the “countylive.ca YouTube Featured Videos” button. Our most recent 3:58 Relay For Life Picton video captures the essence of what we’re aiming to produce frequently. “If you build it, they will come”. Advertisers wanted!
We’ve got the “local” down pat. Now we’re working on getting everybody “hyper” about making countylive.ca their favourite daily habit.