Destination Local: £2.5m hyperlocal pot set for Leeds meeting

This week sees Leeds bloggers and media folk coming together to hear how a £2.5m competition will help bring ‘hyperlocal’ news and content to the masses.

Innovation agencies Nesta and Technology Strategy Board have opened registration for Destination Local Demonstrators – a new hyperlocal media competition which will invest in projects that provide online news or content services to local communities.

The Destination Local competition is looking for entries that demonstrate the potential for technology-led news or content services to specific geographical locations across the UK; enable people to connect more easily with their communities; and provide evidence for the commercial and social potential of new services.

Between three and five projects across the UK will be backed by the competition to support the development of new forms of hyperlocal media information and content services. It is estimated that projects will range in size from £700, 000 to £1.4 million.

Tickets to Tuesday’s briefing in Leeds are available here. I do know a couple of the city’s journalism academic institutions will also be there.

I don’t really know much more about it than what’s in Nesta’s press release so I’m not going to pass much comment on it now (and sadly I can only make the first hour of Tuesday’s event).

Clearly a £2.5 million investment in hyperlocal is very welcome, but the scale of the grants is a little troubling and I’ve already spoken to some Leeds bloggers who are sceptical of the benefit to their small operations (and may feel a little excluded because of their lack of tech knowledge) but we’ll see what Tuesday brings.

Of interest to me was the mention about forming partnerships and collaborations. I was at the launch of the Cardiff Centre For Community Journalism – they believe the future of journalism will involve a collaboration between new groups of community journalists and professionals, working together to create sustainable local news hubs. It’s goof that destination Local is welcoming interest from academic institutions.

The guys at the influential J-Lab were present at the launch to talk about networked journalism, where mainstream media organisations partner with community bloggers and hyperlocal news providers. It will be interesting if any mainstream media in Leeds attends on Tuesday and sees a partnership(s) as the way forward.

Addiply’s Rick Waghorn also blogged on the Destination Local cash and the importance of networks here.

Hope to see you (briefly) on Tuesday?!

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