2pm – Speaker: Professor Tim Wall
Title: Research Activities and REF Return Strategy 2012/13
Title: ‘Understanding the role of Hyperlocal Publishing as an aspect of Creative Citizenship’
Given that ‘Hyperlocal’ publishing on the Internet is now attracting the attention of policy-makers (Ofcom 2012), investors (Nesta 2012) and researchers (such as Kurpius et al 2010), it seems timely to assess the scale of such websites in the UK. This paper reports on research completed as part of the ‘Media, Community and the Creative Citizen’ project on behalf of Ofcom. This study uses existing data that identifies websites that are, by and large, independent of mainstream media organisations and whose intended audience is from a specific, often small, geographic area. It outlines the number of active Hyperlocal websites and the volume of stories they produce. It finds that whilst the challenge they pose to the local press might be overstated, their collective output, and continued growth, is of a scale that warrants further research.
As one of the three major projects funded by the AHRC under their Connected Communities and the Creative Economy strand, the ‘Media, Community and the Creative Citizen’ project is utilising a range of research methods to better understand the potential value of the acts of creative citizenship which lie at the heart of hyperlocal news. A range of research methods are planned such as content analysis, interviews and focus groups. This paper also reflects on the value of those methods, describes planned future methods and outlines some early observations from the project.