Sean Woolley
5/10/13
Hyperlocal News Paper

Richfield

Site name: 55423.info
Site URL: http://55423.info/
Dates of Analysis:
Home page images: April 2
April 3
April 4
April 5
April 6
April 7
April 8
April 9
April 11
April 12
April 14
April 15
April 16
April 17

Alexa.com Collection & Census Data: April 2

Geographic Reach: Richfield, MN (55423)

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external image placeholder?w=614&h=83Demographic Information




Representation

Upon accessing 55423.info you are welcomed by an eye-catching outline that is prominently orange. Underneath the title of the website is a slogan, “Community building, news and information for Richfield, MN” which immediately lets the audience know what the site is about. Underneath the top banner are 5 sub categories that are used for easy navigation of the articles produced by the site. The sections include community news, sports and recreation, things to do, Richfield History and a community calendar.
55423.info is about as hyperlocal as hyperlocals get, having a target audience of just over 34,000 people. This allows the content of the site to be extremely community based and focused on the lives of the residents of Richfield. The cover stories are displayed in a rotating fashion directly at the top center of the page. The stories rotate through and include topics like teens partaking in a local police and fire academy, and construction updates on the new skate park that is going being built. These are stories that would not even be written about in national news sources, let alone have a position in the cover. This speaks for the hyperlocal aspect of the site.
To the right of the cover stories is a “news briefs” feed that allows easy access to the articles in chronological order. A picture does not accompany these, but that is due to the speed of access aspect being emphasized. Below both the feed and the cover stories is a small information bar that tells you the stories that are coming in the near future. These updates sit on top of the news stream that gives the headline, a detailed explanation of the piece and a picture to accompany them in chronological order. The majority of the pictures are of community members doing activities around the town, which represents the community aspect the website is trying to portray.
To the right of the news stream is a poll that asks various community related questions. The hyperlocal aspect of the website allows the poll to be very focused, which makes it a useful tool for gathering community information. At the bottom of the page is a police report list that gives information on recent police activity in the town. There is also a link to the sites Facebook page.

Sample size: 14 homepage screen grabs
Content Analysis


Male
Female
Don’t Know
TOTALS
White
7
3
0
10
Black
0
1
0
1
Hispanic/ Latino
0
0
0
0
Asian
1
1
0
2
Native American
0
0
0
0
Totals
8
5
0
13






Percentages


Percentages
Male
Female
Don’t know
TOTALS
White
54%
23%
0%
77%
Black
0%
8%
0%
8%
Asian
8%
8%
0%
15%









Production

I found the production quality of the website to be very impressive for such a small target audience. The multiple means of accessing information on the site is attractive to readers, and caters to visitors of the site with varying interests. The content on the site isn’t updated very often, however, which speaks to the size of the staff at such a small hyperlocal. Other than the rate at which the stories are produced, the presentation of said articles is attractive and draws the attention of visitors to the site.


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A sample of how the articles are displayed in the stream of stories is displayed above. Everything that the audience needs to know what the story is about is produced in tight, information filled packages, with a picture included to help draw the attention of the audience.
The overall layout of the homepage for the site is produced in a specific way to encourage the audience to easily access multiple types of stories with ease. This is important because you only have their attention for so long, and its important that you give them what they came for quickly. The use of polls and a police report stream is really smart because of the hyperlocal nature of the site. These are examples of information that national news sources cant produce and can only be found on hyperlocal sites. All of these aspects of the layout of the site are really important when viewed through the production lens of the circuit of culture. They are tools used to keep the audience coming back again and again through the community feeling they create.

Sample cover on following page
Description: Macintosh HD:Users:SWoolley:Desktop:Untitled1.png
Description: Macintosh HD:Users:SWoolley:Desktop:Untitled1.png


Identity:

55423.info does a good job in fulfilling its goal identity of being a super hyperlocal news source. Being aimed at only one town, the site is able to be more hyperlocal than even most hyperlocals, and its shows through their selection of articles and the way they present them. The pictures that go along with the articles are in line with the demographic information that I found during my data collection. Not only the people in the pictures, but also where they are and how many there are really gives the site a community focused identity.
Aside from the pictures, the use of various media tools on the site also helps grow the community identity. The poll is a great example of this because it shows that the site is genuinely interested in what its audience has to say, and when the audience is this small it is really a community activity. The police report stream also helps grow this identity because it is very focused information that is only relative to the target audience.


Consumption

Richfield isn’t a large target audience, so the articles on the site vary greatly across all different types of topics. Most national news sources aren’t able to report on topics like a fire chief resigning or a group of teens visiting local police and fire stations. This is what the audience who visits the site is looking for, however, and they want to see articles that directly affect their life. I feel that the site does a really good job of catering to its audience. Getting the audience involved is also important in consumption and the site does this well with the poll on the homepage.

Regulation

The biggest regulation affecting 55423.info would be the lack of funds that comes with being a hyperlocal site. This is displayed through the lack of updating the site, and the lack of new stories being put up. Not only that, but the site was terminated due to the lack of updating the site. This is an example of how a hyperlocal can fail if its writers aren’t diligent in updating it.

Evaluation

55423.info is a great example of a good hyperlocal news source that failed due to lack of updating. Everything about the site is good, from the different types of stories given and the overall layout of the site. The small nature of the audience allowed the site to be really focused on community problems.

Bibliography

City-Data.com. (n.d). Retrieved from City-Data Web site: http://www.city-data.com/

"Richfield News." Richfield News. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2013. http://55423.info/

"Http:55423.info - Information from Alexa Internet." Http:55423.info - Information from Alexa Internet. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.