Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day--and Women In Hyperlocal Journalism

This a.m. I got a reminder from some of my U.K. twitter folks that today is Ada Lovelace Day: a day of international blogging established to draw attention to the achievements of women in techology. Technology, however, is defined rather broadly to include innovators, entrepreurs and tech journalists. I'd like to take this one step further to acknowedge the women who create hyperlocal journalism online, for many of them are not just writing about their towns and cities, but are also building the sites (yes, the dreadded "back end"), doing podcasts, and creating video. While some men are sitting around wringing their hands and kvetching that there's "no business model" and "you can't make money on hyperlocal" these women are out there doing the work of hyperlocal. Some are making money, while others are creating incredible influence in both big and small ways. Here's a list of ten that I know who've been constants in hyperlocal but still do not receive the requisite national attention that men whose efforts are half as successful have received...

1. Debra Gallant & Liz George of Baristanet who took a simple Wordpress blog and built it out into a highly successful (yes, moneymaking) hyperlocal site covering Bloomfielded, NJ and surrounding suburbs.

2. Lise LePage founder of iBrattleboro Along w/partner Chris Grotke, Lise works on back end, community building, and article writing for a site that has become a go-to for news in Brattleboro, VT.

3. Maureen Mann, former managing editor of The Forum (Deerfield, NH) What happens when the place you live has absolutely no news coverage? Maureen and several other "citizens" got together and created this hyperlocal site. There are a number of women on the staff as well as Maureen who keep the folks off Deerfield and the surrounding areas informed.

4. Ruby Sinreich of Orange Politics At the hyperlocal panel at BlogWorld Expo, Ruby made a point that sometimes you don't do hyperlocal for the money but for the influence. OP has a major influence not just on bloggers but on the politics of Chapel Hill, NC. Oh, and she also works on the "back end" maintaining this Drupal-based site.

5. Heather Brandon of Urban Compass I met Heather close to 5 years ago now, when she was keeping Urban Compass, a blog about Springfield, MA for the Springfield Republican's Masslive.com site. Since then, she's taken this important hyperlocal blog out from under the auspices of the msm, and has also moved to Hartford, CT--where she now blogs on both Springfiled, MA and Hartford, CT. She's had some of the best coverage on the flap at the Hartford Courant over incivility in their forums...and the criminal charges against the Mayor of Hartford (who was the most vocal critic of the Courant's forums, including a protest on the steps of the paper. such drama!) Oh, and Heather also does the artwork and "back end" of her site as well.

6. Christine Stuart of CT NewsJunkie The place to go for the scoop on the Connecticut political scene. Christine has also done some work for Fox 61, the Hartford Fox affiliate.

7. Gena Haskett of Out on the Stoop Since 2004, Genia has kept this modest blog filled with thoughtful commentary on the political scene, being a woman, and life in Los Angeles. Witty, wise, smart and down to earth.

8. Tracy Record of West Seattle Blog This is the little blog that really, really could! In a (relatively) short period of time, Tracy's built this site into something really special (and money-making) Oh, and she's also great at using Twitter.

9. Borges of KickTime and companion wiki Kickapedia
Kicktime is a huge hyperlocal site serving the Kickapoo Valley, Wisconsin. It's companion site Kickapedia, provides a listing of local businesses, farms, etc. Borges is also the site admin, who's in charge of the "back end"

10. And, last but not least, my compadre Lisa Williams, founder of Placeblogger.com and H2otown What can I say about Lisa that I haven't already said? When it comes to Placeblogger, Lisa and I are out there with the Big Boys of aggregation, probably the only women doing hyperlocal aggregation, that's for sure.

I know that there are a whole lot more women that I could add to this list, all over the country, who are making hyperlocal happen. If you know of other women who are making hyperlocal happen, please add them in the comments.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day everybody!

Note: There are so many women doing hyperlocal--and I have to apologize to all the women I couldn't include in this post....


Anonymous said...

Hi - I've got a hyperlocal project:
We're in stealth at the moment though!

Anonymous said...

Hi there : Great article ! :)

My name is April Smith of AHA MEDIA www.AHAMEDIA.ca

I lead a team of men to cover hyperlocal events in our area which is called the Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES) in B.C., Canada.

We are considered the poorest postal code in Canada.

Read more about our area on wikipedia:


I am very much into new media and social media and I help others in my area acquire skills in technology.

I produce and design my site and other sites .. 6 months ago I had no idea this world existed. :)

Twitter me! www.twitter.com/AprilFilms

fish said...

Margie Freivogel is editor/founder of the St. Louis Beacon

Howard Owens said...

Gee, the list makes me feel like me, Mike Orren and Barry Parr are the only men out there doing "hyperlocal." Is this really a women-dominated field? Lots of stellar efforts on your list.

Tish Grier said...

Thanks Stacy, April and Margie! I'm also going to add Jacqueline Dupree, who emailed me and said: "Since 2003 I've run jdland.com, tracking the "Near Southeast" neighborhood of Washington DC. My site won the 2008 Knight-Batten Citizen Media Award for Innovations in Journalism...."

And Howard--you know I love ya--and you've done amazing things with Gatehouse, and you know I know all the other guys you mention.:) Thing is, many of the women doing hyperlocal simply don't end up speaking at the conferences, or being interviewed by newspapers about their efforts, or even getting any mention on blogs that are discussing what's going on with journalism and hyperlocal. Last week I encountered a link to a post that Allen Mutter did, talking about new journalism projects and I think one woman--ONE WOMAN!!--was mentioned in the whole blog post. That post infuriated me so much, and I was just itching for the opportunity to mention a mere sliver of the great women I know who are doing hyperlocal. So, it's truly important to acknowledge women who are creating and in their own ways, changing their communities and, in some way, the landscape and future of journalism.

Howard Owens said...

I wasn't complaining or feeling slighted. It's an amazing list.

Tish Grier said...

Thanks Howard :)

Pramit Singh said...

Useful list, Tish.

Might I add Bighow.com, a site for hyperlocal news for neighborhoods across the world that I have been working on since October 2007?

On a related note, readers might also would like to check out the Online Journalism Handbook on bighow http://bighow.com/journalism.

A list of Citizen Journalism sites worldwide arranged across locations can be found here

Pramit Singh said...

Sorry, the link link to the list of citJ sites was cut off,


celinabean said...

Great list. You might want to check out All Over Albany, a great site run my Greg Dahlmann and Mary Darcy.

Andy Mabbett said...

How can you omit the wonderful Nicky Getgood and her "Digbeth is Good" blog?

Digbeth is an area of Birmingham, England.

Tish Grier said...

Thanks for the additions Celina and Andy! I'll have to add those to Placeblogger :)

Tish Grier said...

Pramit--I'm allowing your comments to stand, but find that they are rather impolite. They are unrelated to my post about WOMEN entrepreneurs. Your behavior is indicative of the kinds of things men do that I find completely distasteful and has lead me to reveal more about what women are doing in this space. Women are working, not stalking blogs and tooting their own horns. Perhaps you should get back to work, too ;-)

polly said...

hi everyone- hope you will check out theLoop...our successful!! hyperlocal in westchester county, ny

polly kreisman

Tish Grier said...

Hi Polly! and thanks for the link! great site. :)

Anonymous said...

Katia Kermoal, in Paris, is doing Le Daily Neuvième, a very good blog on the 9th arrondissement: http://www.dailyneuvieme.com