About 100 people from the UK’s hyperlocal web community will come together in Leeds on Saturday 17th April in an unconference called TAL10 – see some of who’s coming here. We are delighted to be organising this unconference with the Guardian. We have got a good chat going over on the google group about likely sessions. If you are coming along and what to talk to people about things just shout. We shall have about five rooms with maybe four or five time slots in each – so up to 25 sessions. As ever the running order will be decided at the start of the day and will evolve throughout. If we all get bored and want to go to the pub that’s fine too – we are planning some heavy drinks with the ‘un-awards’ after the conference finishes. You are welcome to suggest a session(s) on the day – or use the group or this blog post to drum up interest or refine your session.
For the full story go to the group and sign up but here’s a preview as of Friday morning 9 April (it changes every hour or so….):
2010 elections – general and local – how do you report these on a hyperlocal site? Most sites day to day don’t do much Local Politics and hardly any national stuff. But we all do local information about things that are happening. And we know that different people being elected will make a difference to a whole range of local issues. But how do you give your readership information about how their vote might make a difference locally, without getting into the whole political bearpit?
What next for hyperlocal sites? – some sites have become big and important parts of their local civic life, making a difference on the ground, exceeding the wildest dreams of their founders. Most sites weren’t set up to be a disinterested observer nor a commercial news machine – they intended to do civic good. Site owners don’t want to storm the Town Hall but can or should the huge communities have a more formal part in local civic life – maybe as the current government advocates become new parish councils or should they look to the Conservative notion of ‘neighbourhood groups’?
Working with the traditional media – there’s been a hard won evolution in some areas from the ‘these local web people can be safely ignored/patronised/ripped off’ to an acceptance that the local web has an important role in the changing local news market. We have a few people coming from the trad news gathering organisations who get the local web and there’s interest in a session on the terms of trade – what might volunteer hyperlocal sites want from commercial news companies and vice versa. This will be important if either the government’s IFNC s go through or the even more radical Conservative suggestions for hyperlocal multimedia companies.
Money – a few people in the UK have managed to make money from their local sites. Many others have volunteer sites with a large and commercialisable audience and wonder what to do. Others have a site that has taken over their lives and they need it to make money to live.
As i type this new suggestions are coming in – a session on research into the impact of citizen led local sites, a surgery for newbies, something on buddypress (the wordpress social network thingy) and wordpress, a geeky huddle on local data and tagging.