The Petaluma Patch–Hyperlocal News

A new online “news”source came into our Petaluma World today– a new kid on the local media block….Ah, I mean PATCHPetaluma Patch to be precise.

Petaluma Patch joined Petaluma 360, as well as the Press Democrat and Watch Sonoma County web sites as sources of local news or what is also called “hyperlocal” news for P-Town. But, of course, our local web environment also has “news” sources such as the Aqus Community newsletter and numerous local independent bloggers (including yours truly) to fill up our screens.

Integrating all of these sources of information is a challenge for us ordinary folk.

  • Will one site dominate?
  • Will they specialize?
  • Will genuine in depth investigative reporting be provided by any of these sites?

Back in the day when print media dominated, communities were considered blessed if they had several newspapers. Today, perhaps we measure ourselves by the number of online news sources that serve us. 

Finding a balance and then integrating all of these “news” sources is a challenge for the reader. For the hyperlocal news providers, there is also the classic journalistic tension of publishing “news” we need versus “news” we want. Finding this balance in a business model that also generates a sustainable income stream is particularly tricky. It takes time to build a readership with advertising support. 

One of the risks of all of these hyperlocal news sources is that they can create the impression that what is happening here is unique and not part of a larger picture in the county, the state, and the country.

So I ask: 

  • How do you get your information?
  • How do you decide which source to trust?

To achieve some sort of balance and perspective, I often check in with CaliforniaCityNews to learn what is happening elsewhere in California.  Frequently, I find that stories that seem peculiar to Petaluma are also being played out elsewhere.

The “Patch” model is going to be interesting to follow.  Given the fact that it is part of a major nationwide effort by America Online (AOL) to build a network of hyperlocal sites, it should be taken seriously. 

As for me, I am still struggling daily to come to terms with all of the various aspects of new media and social media.  When frustrated, I pick up a hard copy magazine, newspaper, or book. 

Old habits die hard…

To preserve MySpace
I Tweet on Twitter
To save Face…book”