The Loyalist College Journalism – Online, Print and Broadcast program is ramping up local news coverage with the launch of seven new hyperlocal websites. The sites provide comprehensive news coverage in Belleville, Hastings and Prince Edward Counties. They target specific areas of interest ranging from politics and rural coverage of Hastings County to minor league sports and environmental issues.
Hyperlocal journalism focuses solely on news and information for a specific geographic or thematic area – serving a neighbourhood, hamlet, town or small city through an online platform. The news coverage is very targeted, unlike many mainstream media which are often regionalized, containing broad-based information from outside the community.
Third-year students in the Journalism – Online, Print and Broadcast program constructed the sites and will maintain them for the next four months as part of a final-year project. The objective is to meet and exceed the three principals of e-journalism to educate, engage and empower audiences. Students will be using a variety of social media applications to engage their audience and create two-way conversations. People will be encouraged to get involved in their community and have their opinions heard on issues that matter. Hard news stories, features, profiles and analysis pieces will be produced across all websites to help better serve the community.
“In today’s world more and more people are consuming news online,” said student Andrew Mendler. “Our hyperlocal news websites will allow people in our community to find the local information they want on the specific topics they’re interested in. It will provide coverage to niche markets that may not be served by mainstream media.”
Robert Washburn, professor of e-journalism at Loyalist College, spearheaded the project. “The fact that we offer our Journalism students the opportunity to publish their own hyperlocal news websites is a real bonus. The students are entrepreneurs, who create content, manage the sites and sell sponsorships. It is very exciting and rewarding to see them flourish as independent e-journalists,” he said.
“It is exciting to see our Journalism students embrace and master new and emerging technologies to bring our communities the news and stories that are closest to home,” said Jane Harrison, Dean of Media Studies at Loyalist College. “These skills will prove to be a tremendous differentiator as they move forward into challenging and rewarding careers.”
Loyalist Journalism students launch new hyperlocal websites – (left to right) Nicole Kleinsteuber, Laine Sedore, Ashliegh Gehl, Jennifer Bowman, Andrew Medler and Matthew Kerr. Missing from photo – Christine Hosler.
Rural Hastings Advocate – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/jenniferbowman
Quinte Greenspace – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/mattkerr
Prince Edward County Voice – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/nicolekleinsteuber
The Belleville Observer – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/ashlieghgehl
The Sideliner – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/christinehosler
Beyond the Game – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/lainesedore
Quinte Sporting News – http://ejournalism.lcaat.ca/andrewmendler
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Media Contact: Marilyn Warren, Marketing Officer, Loyalist College (613) 969-1913 ext. 2332; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Rob Washburn, Professor, Journalism – Online, Print and Broadcast, (613) 969-1913, ext. 2157; email email@example.com