How local is hyperlocal

MEDIA Lab : Hyperlocal to the future

The award-winning hyper-local online offer neukoellner.net shows what is possible: Current, original, critical and also funny stories from the Neukölln neighborhood. Investigatively researched, prepared using multimedia and in intensive exchange with its users. The need for local and hyperlocal information is unbroken, the possibilities for this are better than ever under digital conditions. Communication scientist Wiebke Möhring from the Hanover University of Applied Sciences is currently confirming this and emphasizing the democratic potential that comes about through communication in close proximity. But she describes the services that local newspapers and radio stations provide as modest in her research overview: Local elites and institutions set the agenda. The personal involvement of local journalists in the local structures often makes critical distance difficult. Critical and controversial reporting rarely appears, not least as a result of staff cuts.

Möhring identifies a particular deficit in the implementation of digital strategies: the future of the local lies in the information that must be mobile and available in multiple layers - the carrier medium paper is becoming obsolete. Even if around 660 German daily newspapers are available online, innovative and actually interactive local concepts are still in short supply. New offers such as neukoellner.net or prenzlauer-berg-nachrichten.de react exactly to this. Not only are innovative forms and formats developed here, but new forms of financing journalism are also tried out: membership, crowd funding, subscriptions or foundations. Wiebke Möhring also sees an obligation here for public institutions: She calls for long-term research on quality in the local area as well as advanced training for local journalists.

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