By Brandon Pope, President- Ball State Chapter of National Association Of Black Journalists & Multimedia Reporter- Ballpoints.com
It can’t be stressed enough; experience is crucial for aspiring journalists looking for a career in media. Students at the UC Berkeley School Of Journalism have received a tremendous opportunity to polish their craft.
With the help of the Ford Foundation, students have created three hyperlocal news sites for the Bay-Area. These hyperlocal sites are staffed by J-School students and have become vital sources of information for under served communities in the region.
The trend of hyperlocal sites has spiked in the past few years. Traditional media like newspapers, television, and radio used to build audiences by bundling together sports, weather, lifestyle and entertainment news into one product. The internet boom dismantled those bundles, creating opportunities for niche products. Hyperlocal sites deliver more extensive, in-depth coverage for local areas.
UC Berkeley launched their hyperlocal journalism program in 2008. You can check out the promotional video they did for their Digital Media Initiative here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwAxw_CBHes&feature=player_embedded).
Mission Local covers San Francisco’s Mission district. It provides news in both English and Spanish to better service the diverse community they report on. Mission Local was honored at the 13th annual Webby Awards, winning a Webby for “Best Student Site”.
Oakland North reports on the Temescal, Rockridge, and Golden Gate communities. Students put their multimedia skills to work to report on local issues in these diverse California communities.
Richmond Confidential reports exclusively on the city of Richmond, California. Student reporters gain experience covering a waterfront city with rich history, but an uncertain future.
You can find a feed for all the sites at localreport.org
Sources: ( http://journalism.berkeley.edu/ ) ( http://www.pbs.org/idealab/2011/09/hyper-local-heaven-at-uc-berkeleys-journalism-school271.html ) (http://multimedia.journalism.berkeley.edu/tutorials/digital-transform/hyperlocal/ ) ( http://localreport.org/ )