WTSP Channel 10 goes seriously hyperlocal on station website

WTSP is actively recruiting citizens to become community bloggers, so they can probably give Ms. Lott a bit of a break.

Of course sometimes change is difficult to understand.  One reader of the website questioned how the station can make cutbacks in on-air personnel, to the detriment of the newscasts, to fulfill content on the web.

On the site, "Maxwells" wrote:

This makes absolutely no sense at all, with companies trying to maximize efficiency and reducing their spending WTSP adds 40 more Web pages that will need to be serviced?

The "focused on local communities" line will prove to be False when there isn’t enough reporting coming in from each community or enough people to individualize each community’s Homepage. The results will be dated articles and the same News stories posted 40 times over with readers ignoring these community sections altogether.

Why not just attempt to do what you already do… but better?

Meanwhile, Patch AOL announced today that they've reached their goal with three weeks to spare: that is, to have 500 sites up and running before the end of this year.  Upcoming sites representing Bloomingdale, Brandon, Seminole Heights, Westchase, Largo,  Dunedin, Gulfport, Land O'Lakes and Westchase.

Last month CL wrote about AOL Patch, the new hyperlocal news group that will soon be having websites reporting from communities all over  in the Tampa Bay area (there are now 3 live sites up reporting from the Bay area; In downtown St. Pete, Bradenton and Sarasota).

The term "hyperlocal" has become the hottest phrase used with news organizations in 2010.  What does it mean?  I've never seen an actual definition, but it has come to mean reporting local/community area news online.

Now WTSP-Channel 10 (are they still calling themselves "10 connects"?) is getting into the game, big-time. On Tuesday, Ken Tonning, the President and General Manager of 10 News, announced that the station has launched no fewer than  40 (!) new hyper-local news  throughout the Tampa Bay.  From their website:

Each "In Your Neighborhood" site will cover the local news of its intended community, promote the community's events , include a local business directory and post local real estate listings. Local members of each community will be invited to submit content which will be combined with local coverage from the 10 News staff to create constantly updated, relevant websites.

"This is the logical evolution of on-line news coverage," said Tonning while making the announcement. "We already offer top-notch coverage of events across the Tampa Bay region, throughout the state of Florida and across the nation on wtsp.com. Now visitors to wtsp.com will also be able to find news and information specifically about their neighborhood."

We're sure that after the sites have been up for awhile they'll start being filled with new & original content.  But after  clicking on the Downtown Tampa -Ybor City link, we see most of the stories are ones that have already appeared on 10 News.  We appreciate seeing Mike Deeson's story on whether race plays a part into how permits are issued at Channelside, as well as Noah Pransky's story on a proposal to move up the date for next year's City Council elections in St. Pete.  There is also appears to be one web producer (named Summer Lott) who is keeping quite busy collecting and posting content for many of the 40 different community sites.

Also we found a lot of shared stories - for instance, the news that about the improved school grades throughout high schools throughout the state was found on nearly every one of the individual links that we found.

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