Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category

HyperLocal News Filters

All Points has an update on hyperlocal news. I look forward to seeing Everyblock grow, but I worry about the day when they (or someone else) will supplement their hyperlocal news feeds with geotagged blog posts. Once that happens public spats between neighbors will get libelous pretty quickly. (“Those dang Smith boys are the culprits who egged all those cars last night!”).

Maybe we need filtering (editorial oversight) at a local level. This could be done by neighborhood newsletters using cloud apps. Take a look at the protagonist in the following video. She is an editor of a neighborhood newsletter. What’s valuable here is not so much the explanation of Google Docs, but a workflow for editorial review at a local level. Perhaps someone like Everyblock could include local newsletters that follow some sort of journalistic ethics instead of just including any geotagged blog post.

So far though, users seem to prefer minimally filtered info. I don’t have any hard numbers, but it doesn’t look like Knol is going to catch up to Wikipedia any time soon, in either quantity or quality. Compare GIS at Knol to GIS at Wikipedia.


Zillow Inks Deal with Newspapers

subprime domino effect
Zillow has made an agreement with 282 newspapers to list real estate classifieds.

How might this work exactly? For example, real estate advertisers who currently buy classified listings in their local paper will be able to choose to have their listings and open house information shown on Zillow. Not only will this contribute to the number of for-sale listings buyers can browse on our site, but also has the potential to create an incredibly comprehensive online source of open house information, by locality. And this is just the beginning; we have lots of other content-sharing ideas that we’re eager to start digging into.

I wonder if better market knowledge will exacerbate the subprime meltdown by forming a tighter positive feedback loop. Once people know how many subprime loans are in a neighborhood, I bet they would avoid buying a house there. Lower demand means lower prices. Once market value falls below the loan amount, the assets of banks begin to suffer, causing writeoffs … like the one just taken by Bank of America.

I’ve always liked Zillow’s heatmaps. I just wish I could scale the colorramp of the heatmap to make it based on numbers that fall within my current mapextent.

Speaking of real estate, an Austin realtor has blogged about a subprime loan map published by the New York times. Just glancing at the map, I get the feelling rural areas can be blamed for the subprime lending crises. To be more balanced, a map showing dollar amount of subprime loans by county is needed. Maybe zillow will support that.

Garage Sale Maps/Classifieds

The internet has cut into classified ad revenue at local newspapers.

I think newspapers can still play a role, though. Most cities require permits to be purchased for garage sales. Some cities, like Bryan TX, display garage sale maps, but don’t do a very good job at it.


I think newspapers could mashup garage sale permit locations, and add value by allowing garage sale vendors to purchase additional advertising, upload photos, and list the items they have for sale. This would then support a slick map based web gui.

Additionally, SMS based LBS could allow cell phone users to get a list of nearby garage sales when out shopping.