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Entrepreneurs Redefine News With Hyper Local Data.

Posted by Dan Vigil on January 24, 2008

“Whats Happening In My Neighborhood?”

While local newspapers are scrambling for a foothold in their region, entrepreneurs are stepping in and aggregating “hyper” local data at the neighborhood level. Backed by a two year grant from The Knight foundation, EveryBlock.com launched today with neighborhood data and news from San Francisco, New York City and Chicago. The site provides up to date information  by Zip Code, Neighborhood, even Street Address. 

There was vandalism on the 1000 block of S. State Street in Chicago at 6PM today. I can also view data on what businesses make up the 21 liquor license applicants in my city this month. The site is easy to navigate and and delivers three types of information: local news and blogs, civic information and user generated local content (eg. reviews from Yelp, photos from Flickr, postings on Craigslist).

Redefining “news” is what venture is all about. While EveryBlock may still pick up the story of the day covered by national newspapers, it’s delivered right along side the review of a new Italian restaurant on Yelp, or a “cool” photo taken of a house down the street that has just been posted in Flickr. The company will be adding data types in the coming months, providing more information for each of the three launch cities.

Local newspapers should be quick to jump on this model.  The EveryBlock team of 4 is led by Adrian Holovaty, a veteran  journalist and web developer whose worked at the washingtonpost.com, lawrence.com and LJWorld.com. While the team promises to work feverishly to obtain more data from city officials and civic resources, local newspapers should already have these relationships in place. 

 Perhaps there’s an opportunity for a partnership here. Local newspapers can have a hyper-local research center “powered by” EveryBlock. Whatever the move, local newspapers need to keep embracing the technology, hiring the staff and pick up the pace on the on-line database development  to establish themselves as the “source” for local information.

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