Hyper Ann Arbor

Edward Vielmetti, whose ecletic blog Vacuum is global in reach but local in focus, calls attention to new tools to “aggregate, curate, and publish” local news via Outside.in for Publishers. As I noted in an earlier post, a growing trend toward “hyperlocal” news sites is helping to fill the gap being left by the demise of traditional newspapers. These pull together numerous online news sources, including some blogs, and sometimes supplement them with governmental notices. The result is not the same as a traditional newspaper but can help people keep a good information flow about their own locality.

Ed’s post made me take a second look at the Ann Arbor version of Outside.in and it will now appear on our blogroll. It does a very decent job of pulling news stories from a number of sources, including some I am not familiar with, and giving a brief headline/summary/link in a very timely way. The link to neighborhoods was a little less successful. Using my own neighborhood (they appear to use the Ann Arbor Observer City Guide classifications, which I find less than satisfactory since my humble neighborhood is lumped with the big houses up Newport), I found that some stories were highly relevant and others (like movie reviews!) more general.

Of course, the Ann Arbor Chronicle is moving right along with this hyperlocal reporting (and is very frequently the source for Outside.in). They do some curating and aggregation themselves (the plural noun is because it is a partnership) and I find their “New Media” and “Old Media” items very helpful, where they pull news and comment from nationwide publications and local blogs.

Yet to be revealed is how effective the new mostly online news from AnnArbor.com will be. A very good piece of news is that they have hired Edward Vielmetti to be the “blogging leader”. They’ve been making a number of announcements and appointments and their apparent openness is fairly impressive. I only recently signed up on their site and took their poll, and this morning I got several updates on decisions on policy. Apparently they took all the items I gave high points to and are sending me instantaneous status updates. (I am able to turn off this feature.) If this is not all hype/marketing, it could be good.

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2 Comments on “Hyper Ann Arbor”

  1. Thanks Vivienne. I remember when outside.in first came out, and there was some software dance needed to tag your posts so that they showed up in the right place there; I think they are doing an OK job overall in trying to manage what is really a very tough task. You are right that neighborhood boundaries are something very difficult to get right since neighborhoods are elastic and overlapping.

    As for AnnArbor.com’s responsiveness, I’m part of the process (and I’m optimistic). There are a lot of details that need to get done at launch time, and a lot of times where the answer to some very cool idea has been properly “not for launch”. Whatever it takes to make it happen – this town deserves it.

  2. Allan Feldt Says:

    Thanks for the blog, Vivienne. I’ll try to follow along, although I’m fairly busy with our own local organization, DEXMIL.

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