Sunday, January 28, 2007

More Portland neighborhoods going on line

Last Thursday evening nearly 40 neighborhood activists jammed into the Lovejoy conference room in Portland City Hall.

We weren’t there to lobby or petition, but to learn.

The lessons were about the Internet, and our teachers were experienced neighborhood web masters and web mistresses.

From the numbers in the room, it’s clear a lot more neighborhoods are going to be on line soon, adding to the growing glut of information—all of it competing for your attention.

Whether the content qualifies as “news” is another question.

The sites will certainly will be part of what has been awkwardly called “hyper-local” journalism.

The audiences, accordingly, will be relatively minuscule. And the journalists are bound to be amateurs, if for no other reason that there is no money in this. Minuscule markets mean minuscule advertising revenues.

But, like teachers, few journalists enter the field for the money. And a few of us who are semi-retired are willing to work for nothing or next to nothing. The rewards are a job well done, not big bank accounts.

On Thursday we were shown several neighborhood web offerings, some obviously better than others, but each had a lesson for would-be hyper-local journalists like me.

Links to several neighborhood sites follow. Check them out. They are a mixed bag. I’ll leave it to you to sort them out. Feel free to comment. As someone about to launch two neighborhood-oriented sites, I'd like to know your likes and dislikes.

Sullivan’s Gulch
Mt. Tabor

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Blogger The Rob said...

I've always preferred "micro-local" to "hyper-local" myself ;)

I wasn't able to attend the Thursday meeting, so it would be interesting to know how many sites were really going to be "news"-oriented. I know that the Laurelhurst (my neighborhood) site does not intend to be that.

We are undertaking merging the official site (, as appears in your list above) with my site ( with the intent of creating a living resource for the neighborhood.

We already have a "news" outlet: the neighborhood newsletter. And while you'll see copies show up on the web site, and articles spill over on to it, there probably won't be any "journalism" as such on the site for quite some time yet.

It is true that the potential audience for these sites are miniscule (and those that actually show up to them even smaller). It's also true that the "journalists", such as they exist, are likely to be amature and unpolished, but I see the idea of this kind of communication to be more around providing a sense of community to the physical place you live - a sense of "togetherness" - than about being an in-depth place to get news (though that's a nice plus when it happens). To your point, there are already plenty of places vying for your attention for news.

10:23 PM  
Blogger John said...

Hello Mr. Seifert,

I love your blog here. Interesting and witty material. You're a good writer.

At the end of this post, you mentioned that you’re about to launch two new neighborhood websites. Since Hillsdale already has an awesome website (the one in your list), does this mean that you help other neighborhoods get online? We would love to have you show us how to set up a site like Hillsdale has. Were basically a big subdivision neighborhood out here in Lake Grove, but we've got a grade school and a small library. We have a board and I think they meet monthly or bimonthly.

Any help you can give me would be great!

John P.
Lake Grove

4:58 PM  

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