Hyperlocal Websites Spread the Arts Message

Posted by Tim Mikulski, Jan 04, 2012 0 comments

Tim Mikulski

Trying to garner the attention of local media for something happening in the arts can be a daunting task -- particularly if you live in a major media market with only a few newspapers, a handful of TV stations, and one or two radio stations interested in community affairs.

It's even harder to find out how your local school board voted on your district's arts education budget or how your state legislative candidates feel about funding for the arts.

All of that is beginning to change thanks to the world of local blogs and websites that are now becoming what used to be the areas covered by a community newspaper, but with easier access and greater availability to everyone.

Local blog sites are everywhere and should be leveraged for all of the above, particularly the "ist" blogs, as they provide a ton of city/regional coverage for the arts, as well as local government actions, etc.

Large cities like Washington, DC also have neighborhood blogs that serve a smaller niche like Prince of Petworth and Penn Quarter Living.

But, there are two websites (although not quite national yet) that often fill up my inbox when it comes to my numerous Google News Alerts for a variety of arts and arts education news --  Patch.com and Examiner.com.

Patch, owned by AOL, currently covers 25 states as a home for hyperlocal journalism, serving 500 communities. The ever-expanding platform hires a local reporter for each neighborhood, and they take to Twitter and other forms of social media to generate and promote local content.

More and more, the information coming through my alerts from sites like Patch includes coverage of events and information vital to the arts community, especially local arts grants, boards of education meetings, arts education programming/advocacy, and public art projects.

The Examiner takes a similar approach, but their focus is a bit wider and more dedicated to the city level, mixing in national news with hyperlocal, too. Here is what Chicago's site looks like.

A good example of coverage that local newspapers or television stations may not provide comes from our own experience. Americans for the Arts received attention from San Diego's local Examiner site prior to, during, and after our Annual Convention came to town last summer. While the local newspaper and television stations covered our event, the Examiner reporters provided broader coverage.

So, if you looking to be a better local arts advocate or would love to see a local middle school performance covered by the media, don't forget to check out these hyperlocal media options or you could be missing a golden opportunity/resource.

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