Ten innovative local news projects focusing on mobile technology have been granted funding of £50,000 by Nesta, the Lottery-funded UK innovation foundation.
The successful ten were chosen from 165 applications. They include My Town in Welshpool, Wales, which will create a 'location aware'mobile app to deliver relevant content to mobile phones. Local Edge in Leigh and Broughton Scotland, proposes developing a loyalty card system giving those who participate in civic activities vouchers to spend in shops. And London-based LocalSay 'will create a geographically relevant guide with an augmented reality feature allowing users easy access to useful local information".
Nesta said that the winning projects will now 'build and test prototypes that will deliver the next generation of very local, mobile services such as news, public services and citizen journalism".
Nesta programme director Jon Kingsbury said: "The strength and diversity of the projects chosen shows how exciting the hyperlocal media sector is. There is a real desire for these organisations not only to be innovative but sustainable so that we lay the foundations for a hyperlocal media sector that is here to stay".
Here are details of the full list of winning projects courtesy of Nesta:
Welshpool and Newtown, Wales
MyTown will launch new sites, in addition to its existing two in Montgomeryshire. It will create a location aware mobile app, on both Android and iOS, for all sites allowing geographically relevant content i.e. the latest news headlines to be viewed on mobile phones. The service will also create push notifications and users of the app will also be able to upload their own content.
Leith and Broughton, Scotland
Local Edge will allow users to receive and post geographically relevant news and information on their mobile phones. It will develop a loyalty card system working with local shops and service providers. Users who participate in civic activities will also be rewarded with vouchers to spend at local stores.
LocalSay will create a geographically relevant guide with an augmented reality feature allowing users easy access to useful local information. It will also set out pending policy decisions e.g. planning applications, which are likely to impact the local area. Users will be able to share comments on the proposed decisions impacting their local area.
LOL! Leeds Online
LOL! Leeds Online will develop a map based interface that allows access to its content via a mobile app. In addition to providing users with geographically relevant content, the app will use the map as its dashboard, allowing users to upload, search, read, comment, rate and tag news items.
Papur Dre (Town Paper) is a community newspaper working with Cwmni Da, a television production company and Coleg Menai, a further education college in North West Wales. Working together they will create a Welsh language mobile service that features news and information, using images, text and video. Students from the college will have the opportunity to create content for the service and produce a hyperlocal video news channel.
Our Town is a mobile hyperlocal news service backed by one of Scotland's leading media companies. The service will include both web apps, native apps and push notifications and will be piloted within a central belt town in Scotland. Content for the service will be generated by professional journalists, businesses, charities, the local authority and user-generated.
#21VC – 21st Century Village Correspondent – is a project to develop the Loddoneye hyperlocal blog into a wi-fi access portal. The service will also draw on content from the parish magazine and a community journalist, creating a local mobile service and wi-fi platform.
URTV is an online hyperlocal TV service in Scotland. Following the success of Helensburgh TV, URTV will build a network of community owned, not-for-profit hyperlocal news channels. Phase one of a mobile app has been completed and URTV will further develop the second phase app allowing for location based news and content to be rolled out across the network.
Kentish Town, England
The Kentishtowner is a daily hyperlocal online magazine with a strong quality editorial focus. The Kentishtowner will develop an HTML5 version of the website and will include geo-tagging of all data optimised for mobile devices. A variety of mobile content will be available, from detailed map-point local history walks to real-time shopping discounts. Local advertisers will also be offered the chance to alert potential customers to special offers as they pass near a shop.
Craigavon, Northern Ireland
Locali will interact with the community, local council and local businesses to facilitate improved local engagement through a location-aware smartphone app. The app will provide hyperlocal news and information – streamlining existing public information together with new hyperlocal content. It will also allow citizens to feedback issues directly to the local council.
Jon Kingsbury, Programme Director, at Nesta, says "The strength and diversity of the projects chosen shows how exciting the hyperlocal media sector is. There is a real desire for these organisations not only to be innovative but sustainable so that we lay the foundations for a hyperlocal media sector that is here to stay"