A new species of hyperlocal or community journalism

The cover of The Botetourt View, our community news publication for Botetourt County, Virginia. We almost always feature kids on the cover.

The cover of The Botetourt View, our community news publication for Botetourt County, Virginia. We almost always feature kids on the cover.

I am convinced that here in Roanoke we have evolved a new community journalism. Our community news products may superficially look like colorful version of a traditional community news tab — but they are really web-first products that rely on a robust social media presence.

Recently a colleague went to a conference where digital products was on the agenda. I looked at the description and told him I should be the one presenting. In jest, I gave him this promotion, although as I look at it, it’s dead-on. I’m really surprised other media companies haven’t tried to copy what we’re doing.

• Do you face competition from suburban weeklies?
We can show how to compete against them and beat them at their own game.

• Is your existing community news product underperforming?

We can show you how we took a money-losing product and turned it into not one but three different money-makers.

• Do your advertisers want to reach women with children in the home?
We can show you how we’ve created an audience that isn’t otherwise engaged with a daily newspaper.


• Do you want more coverage of high school sports but can’t afford it?

We can show you how we’ve created a guerrilla army of people who now send us hundreds of photos each week for dirt cheap, or sometimes even free.

• Do you want to know how you can use online to make people want your print edition even more, instead of less?
We can show you how we now generate more than 1 million pageviews per year, and at the same time increased the demand for print.

So Salem, our community news publication for Salem, Virginia. Notice the sticky note -- advertisers love these.

So Salem, our community news publication for Salem, Virginia. Notice the sticky note — advertisers love these.

The cover of SWoCo, our community news publication for Southwest Roanoke County, Virginia. Yes, we cover rec sports!

The cover of SWoCo, our community news publication for Southwest Roanoke County, Virginia. Yes, we cover rec sports!

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