This was my last week on Serra Media‘s Fall Internship Program. I joined that in the end of September – an opportunity to have an ‘international experience’ with a propose I’ve been working some years with and which became more popular recently: hyperlocal news.
In this program, we are four community cultivators – from Seattle (WA), Portland (OR), Los Angeles (CA) and, yes, Porto Alegre (RS), Brazil. The position’s goal: we should “grow a meaningful, constructive community of Web users through outreach, participation and creativity”.
I was curious about how is working with another audience, who has different culture and ways for accessing internet and digital tools. On my daily job, here in Brazil, I edit a supplement and a blog about the neighbourhood where I grow up. Everything could be so different from I’m used to do. I’ve never been in USA or Canada – for while -, but I’ve picked up news for four cities/regions in these countries for nine weeks.
Actually it isn’t so different. Hyperlocal news can be similar anywhere: weekend markets, traffic interruptions, festivals, city hall decisions, interesting people. Example: last Thursday, there’s a storm in Porto Alegre, and some bloggers sent me photos, published on Blog do ZH Zona Sul early afternoon. At night, I checked The Bellingham Herald’s Newsgarden and found out a report submitted by a user: That Blows, with photos of a Vintage Ford Truck crushed by a tree fall. Stormy weather caused damages in both cities.
As community cultivators, we identified who is blogging about that city and share their posts in Newsgarden – and, of course, I invited them to add more contributions there in the future. As here, sometimes people invited me to visit their places (“Oh, thanks, but I live out of the city…“).
Both cases, in Brazil and in US, one of the main challenges is the audience’s engagement. I haven’t created an amazing formule to this question during the internship – if someone has it, let me know (some tips in the post Social Tools and Hard Work Drive Local Audiences, Serra Media Blog) -, but I’m glad to finish the task with some result: the number of views increased in all these sites since this internship began. Now I can face another hyperlocal experience.
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