Whether we like it or not, hyperlocal news websites are here, invading our coverage areas and hiring away our experienced co-workers. (By "our," I'm referring to traditional print media outlets, including The Courier-News and the Chicago Sun Times.)
And, further cementing their place in the news-purveying industry is recent movement by the Illinois Press Association to create a membership category for the hyperlocal dot-coms.
For those of you who are not media insiders, currently news websites like Patch (recently sprouted in Geneva, St. Charles and, yesterday, in Naperville) and Elgin's BocaJump float in a sort of limbo. They function as sort of mini newspapers with an online presence only. They report local happenings, publish police reports and cover some local government. They hire people with journalism degrees and sell ads, too.
The creators of these types of news websites say their pages will serve up community journalism with a heavy focus on feature stories and submitted content. Some claim to be "complementary rather than competition," when it comes to traditional print media. Others flat out seek to oust the journalists already in town.
What's the debate? What does this mean? After the jump.