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Michelle Ferrier

MICHELLE FERRIER Dr. Michelle Ferrier is an associate professor in the iMedia graduate program at Elon University in North Carolina. She is interested in the intersection of community advocacy, education and journalism.

Visit Locally Grown News.com

Project Blog: Locally Grown News

This project sets out to create a complete infrastructure, to be franchised, for those who want to launch hyperlocal news sites. Services will include a Web platform, software development, market analysis, some content, and legal and marketing assistance. Such an infrastructure, says former MytopiaCafe.com editor Michelle Ferrier, will permit citizen journalists and community members to "focus on what they are most passionate about - building their community conversation through good local information and networking."

Neighborlogs: A Blog Platform with a Community Feel

Monday, November 02, 2009

Neighborlogs.com, based in Seattle, offers a blog platform specifically for those doing hyperlocal community news or placeblogs. I spoke with Justin Carder one of the principals of Instivate, the company building the platform about what they’re growing.

The platform, now in private beta testing, has been running centraldistrictnews.com for about two years and capitolhillseattle.com for about 1 years. Neighborlogs actively began soliciting beta testers in spring 2008 and is adding about two to three new sites each month.

Justin, who runs the capitolhillseattle.com blog, lives the placeblogger life, building the platform along with Scott Durham, president of Instivate. “We’re out here doing the work,” he says—a key to understanding what it takes to be successful and to build good software that suits the hyperlocal niche. He believes that being successful as a placeblogger means finding a pace that you can sustain - and that means doing it every day. reJurno has done a review of capitolhillseattle.com’s inner workings.

“I think the biggest key is to really be part of the community so that your community is contributing to the site. So you’re acting as editor and bringing that stuff together,” Justin says. Justin also believes that the enterprise has to start out slowly. “I don’t see this being someone’s income right away,” Justin says. “You should be building this while you’ve got other income.”

Neighborlogs.com has plans for expansion by building a self-serve advertising module to put campaign management in the hands of the advertiser. After beta testing, they plan to offer the Neighborlogs/ad software using a revenue share model.

Justin and Scott built the Neighborlogs platform using Javascript with HTML templates. They expose the CSS so that you can give your site a different look and feel. Right now, the templates are a bit limited in what’s available.

The software does allow for multiple roles. Administrator roles give you the ability to add plug-ins on the site. Their Google beta group is very active in pointing out bugs and desires they’d like added to the system. And the Instivate team is very responsive to those concerns.

But right now they’re content to soak up the feedback.

“Feedback 
is very important,” Justin says. “And we want sites that use the tool well. Word of mouth is very important. We continue to see great growth off of that. And if people see a site and it’s doing well, they say they want one of those in their neighborhood too.”

COMING WEDNESDAY: The platform search continues with…Village Soup.

POLL: What content management system do you use for your hyperlocal site? (surveys)

   • Posted by Michelle Ferrier on 11/02 at 01:19 PM
 

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