Nesta has just launched an exciting new programme – Destination Local – with the aim of supporting the next generation of hyperlocal media services.
We know that local news and information is important to people, helping them engage and connect with their local community. Hyperlocal media services can help define local identity, fill content gaps left by big media and hold authority to account. The increase in technology platforms such as location aware mobile phones and tablet devices make it easier to create and consume content on the go.
Together with our partners, Nesta is looking to support prototypes that use new and emerging technology and engage with audiences in new ways. Our goal in funding the prototypes is to understand the type of service that works well with audiences, the business models that make them sustainable and the challenges and opportunities of using mobile technologies.
So, what does ‘hyperlocal media’ actually mean? Well it means different things to different people but our definition for the purpose of the programme is: “Online news or content services relevant to a town, village, single postcode or other small, geographically defined community”
The programme is interested in finding out the true potential of hyperlocal media as well as encouraging a diverse and sustainable sector.
In addition to helping develop the sector, the programme will also address questions about what services we find useful. I would never think “what I really need today is a hyperlocal media service!” However I might think “how can I find information relevant to where I live? Can I really trust the information I’m reading? How can I meet up with people locally? Can I actually work the clever mobile technology?!” On local issues that matter to me I might wonder “how can I ensure my voice is heard, can I really make a difference?”.
We hope by supporting the next generation of hyperlocal media services we can start to address these and other questions.
Nesta’s Destination Local programme will fund 10 prototype services (up to £50,000) to develop the next generation of hyperlocal media. We are working closely with the Technology Strategy Board who are running a parallel Destination Local competition to encouraging innovative, hyperlocal cross-media platforms and enabling technologies that will drive new service offerings, reach out into communities and provide conduits for public services.
Successful NESTA funded applicants will have the opportunity to meet with and potentially collaborate with Technology Strategy Board funded projects as part of the Destination Local programme. All learning from the programme will be made publicly available, for the benefit of this emerging sector.
If you’re interested in submitting an application form to Destination Local I would strongly recommend you read our landscape review, written by the brilliant Damian Radcliffe. It offers an overview of the hyperlocal media sector, highlighting current activity across the UK, examining key characteristics, ingredients for success, challenges and emerging trends.
For more details and to download a copy of the application form please go to: http://www.nesta.org.uk/destination_local