Devon Bartholf
COM 100: Hyperlocal Final Paper
10 May 2013

BenitoLink
Site name: BenitoLink
Site URL: http://www.benitolink.com
Dates of Analysis:
Home page images:
April 2, 2013
April 3, 2013
April 6, 2013
April 7, 2013
April 8, 2013
April 9, 2013
April 10, 2013
April 11, 2013
April 12, 2013
April 13, 2013
April 14, 2013
April 15, 2013
April 21, 2013
April 22, 2013

Alexa.com Collection & Census Data:
Geographic Reach: San Benito County, California (95043)

Type of Site: Hyperlocal
Demographic Summary:

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 1.43.00 PM.png
Retrieved from: http://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/CA/San-Benito-County-Demographics.html
Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 1.43.24 PM.png
Retrieved from: http://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/CA/San-Benito-County-Demographics.html
genderbenitolink.png
Retrieved from: http://www.city-data.com/county/San_Benito_County-CA.html


Geographic Data

Zip
White
Black
Asian
Latino/Hispanic
Native American
Total
Male
Female
HHI


93210
10.98%
3.39%
.76%
17.75%
.63%
4,836
67.3%
32.7%
$51,711


93930
50.6%
.19%
.67%
27.8%
.007%
4,260
49.4%
50.6%
$57,152


95004
11.9%
.085%
.60%
.64%
.17%
1,412
50.3%
49.7%
$76,162


95020
10.2%
11.4%
2.64%
16.4%
16.1%
17,629
50.9%
49.1%
$83,135


95023
9.7%
.38%
.24%
17.1%
.33%
15,301
51.9%
48.1%
$67,282


94043
41%
1%
2.5%
52.5%
.6%
55,520
50.6%
49.4%
$71,309


95045
9.3%
.71%
.94%
8.1%
.55%
1,542
49.6%
50.4%
$77,241


95075
20.1%
0%
6.3%
4.1%
0%
122
56.4%
43.6%
$76,251


95004 (Aromas)
59.1%
.4%
1.8%
34.9%
.5%
2,650
50.5%
49.5%
$112,439


95023 (Hollister)
29.1%
.7%
2.4%
65.7%
.3%
35,088
49.7%
50.3%
$62,251


95045 (San Juan Bautista)
43.9%
.6%
2.5%
48.7%
1.6%
1,870
48.0%
52.0%
$49,502















Representation
BenitoLink is one of the cleanest online news sites I have seen. The background of the site is white and there is very few to no advertisements displayed on the home page. BenitoLink is a hyperlocal news site that is geared towards locals living within San Benito County, California. Because the population is much larger—over 55,000 residents, the news reporters therefore cover a wider community radius. San Benito is a historically rich and beautiful county, with abundant hills and fields that appear as the main image on the top banner of the home page.

For the appearance of the web site itself, the top banner of the BenitoLink homepage says, “Interactive, independent, homegrown, read local.” Like Tucson Sentinel, BenitoLink only displays excerpts of the articles and has a “read more” link located on the bottom. There is also a daily poll that is in the center of the page, which asks viewers a question regarding something about the site or news. Along the bottom of the page is an “Upcoming Events” section where the events are listed in columns by the days of the week. This is very relatable to San Benito residents because all of the upcoming events are local events occurring in San Benito County so anyone who is interested can attend. For example, some of the events are “Bone Marrow Donor Drive” and “Anzar High School Booster Club "All You Can Eat" Crab and Pasta Dinner.”

There are also far less tabs on the top than normal online news sites, which gave me a more obvious impression that it is a hyperlocal site because there is less crowding and gaudiness on the page. There is also Facebook and Twitter updates that stream on the home page, which is usually about latest news and event updates. Sometimes there are also little blurbs about other hyperlocal news sites around the country, which to me shows that Benito Link staff cares about how other hyperlocal news sites compare to theirs and whether BenitoLink is up to par with every other nonprofit and independent news site.

Surprisingly, no single person appeared in a photo on the home page. Most of the pictures on the page are more nature-prone, which showed me that BenitoLink strives to be as unbiased and non-opinionated as possible. However, my picture grabs do not match up to what appears on the site today. As I currently write this, the home page has two main images, which feature Caucasian men. On the upper right hand side there are daily videos that readers can view. Given that San Benito County is predominantly Hispanic, many of the videos on BenitoLink include Hispanic people.



Male
Female
Don’t Know
TOTALS
White
0
0
0
0
Black
0
0
0
0
Hispanic/ Latino
0
0
0
0
Asian
0
0
0
0
Native American
0
0
0
0
Totals
0
0
0
0

Production

The frequency of article posts on BenitoLink are much more relaxed and slow paced than the frequency of Tucson Sentinel. BenitoLink is strictly local news and does not provide a national/world news tab like Tucson Sentinel does. BenitoLink is actually an online web portal created by San Benito residents for other residents to view freely whenever they want. BenitoLink is designed to provide local news, events, sports, opinions, and discussion forums where San Benito residents can discuss local issues, topics, and events amongst one another.

Since San Benito residents themselves write the articles, BenitoLink is flexible for the residents and for whatever the community wants it to produce. BenitoLink focuses on a message of instilling knowledge into their readers so that they will become well informed in terms of the community and how residents can work towards making it better. Throughout my analysis of the site, I noticed that it is successful when it comes to providing discussion forums for residents because BenitoLink facilitates the discussions in a way that they make light of the opportunities and challenges San Benito faces today.



BenitoLink 4-21130am copy.jpg
Date taken: 4/3/2013 Retrieved from: http//www.benitolink.com


Identity
San Benito residents run BenitoLink itself. They are not higher leaders in the digital world but instead are just ordinary residents like everyone else. Therefore, they recognize fellow residents’ values and beliefs and are sensitive when it comes to incorporating their ideas into both the articles and discussion forums. There has to be communication on both sides in order for the site to be successful in terms of making San Benito a better placed with a well-informed community regarding the issues and challenges the county faces today.

Benito 4-22115pm copy.jpg
Date taken: 4/22/2013 Retrieved from: http://www.benitolink.com



Many of the articles in the article represent a positive identity for both BenitoLink and the community as a whole. Throughout my analysis I noticed that a large part of the residents’ focus leans towards San Benito renovations such as the “San Benito General Plan” for development in the county during the next two decades as well as awareness articles and events such as the image above. Residents establish identification with BenitoLink in a way where they not only relate to the articles, but also with the writers on the site because they are ordinary people like them who have the same interests and values.

Consumption

The purpose of BenitoLink is for residents to have access to news and be able to become aware of what is occurring in the county. Residents are also able to show support through sponsorships, donations, and grants in order to make the site free and available for anyone who wants to stay informed. Any and all residents can also request to post an article or blurb on the site, where there is a "How to Post" tap on the upper right hand corner of the page. This is one of the aspects of BenitoLink that sticks out to me the most because it shows how generous the resident creators of the site are in making sure fellow residents have a voice if they want to have one in delivering ideas or opinions. Once a resident writes an article and submits it, the advisory committee simply checks it for approval to make sure the article meets the standards of their Terms of Service. This is a great way of consumption on both ends where there are no one-sided opinions but rather a multi-sided relationship from resident to resident.

After looking back at my data as well as the demographics for San Benito County, BenitoLink is the most successful out of the two sites I analyzed when it comes to delivering to its intended audience. The articles themselves however are not as frequent as other hyperlocal news sites, but they are clearly relatable to San Benito residents because the articles are always about some event or issue occurring within the community, which many residents are probably interested in.

Regulation
I think one of the important aspects BenitoLink residents try to keep in mind is that the simplicity of the site promotes its independent, hyperlocal, and organic approach in delivering news. Looking at the demographics of San Benito County as a whole, it is clear that regulation impacts the design of the site in the way that the news coverage applies to a wider range of residents given the larger population. After analyzing the site, I definitely feel that the site challenges both private and public space because writers are not afraid to express their opinions and bring awareness to important issues occurring in the county.


Evaluation
The analysis for the BenitoLink screen grabs and the demographics for San Benito County brought me to the conclusion and BenitoLink is a genuine site that is solely constructed from San Benito residents themselves who share the same values and interests like fellow residents in the community. As a highly dense county from the Hispanic race, I never caught any obvious biases within the articles or images. Given that there are no people in any of the images I collected, shows that San Benito residents truly strive to make the site a place where anyone can resort to without discouragement of seeing an influx in one particular race in images, articles, or discussions. As for the demographics of San Benito in conjunction with the site, I think they both accurately represent one another on almost an equal platform. BenitoLink is a site where everyone has a choice to post their ideas onto their very own article, which is then processed for publication onto the actual site. This very aspect of the site proves that the community strictly runs BenitoLink, which is a great way to seek out issues within the county and to further implement each other's ideas.



Bibliography





Screen grabs
  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 2, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 3, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 6, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 7, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 8, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 9, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 10, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 11, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 12, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 13, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 14, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 15, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 21, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com

  • Benitolink Staff. Benitolink.com - Benitolink news, info & commentary. Retrieved April 22, 2013 from http://www.benitolink.com