Hillquest.com receives about 27,000 unique visitors each month and as many as 250,000 page views a month.
Not enough to make anyone rich, but considering it’s a local site covering just one neighborhood in San Diego, it’s a pretty impressive stat.
Of course, not every local site is updated multiple times a day or has people as devoted and as able as Nancy Moors and Ann Garwood working on the site, but there are plenty of people and organizations that are already publishing community newsletters and Web sites.
Unfortunately, many of these organizations struggle because they lack the tools to create simple but quality Web sites and even more importantly, the channels to market them to readers.
Newspapers, which are always talking about the importance of local news, unfortunately have done little to actively help organizations easily and effectively connect with their communities. And this is a tragedy for both parties.
Newspapers miss out on an invaluable source of free local content, which is what readers desperately crave and don’t get from their large regional paper. In addition, by not providing the tools and bringing these publishers into the fold, they are creating competitors and losing audiences.
In fact, it feeds a common perception among many readers, that the local paper is arrogant and uncaring.
Or as Moors stated, “Newspapers have been arrogant, thinking that they are only choice for so long that they’ve blown off the community. That’s what’s given life to community newspapers.”
And she spent her whole life working for newspapers! Imagine what other people think.
On the flip side, most community organizations struggle to get the word out because they lack the tools and the channel to communicate their message to their constituents. Even sophisticated operations, rarely have reach that local newspapers have.
Not surprisingly, Moors said they’ve gotten repeated requests from various neighborhood associations to help them with their sites.
“We’re passionate about our community and that’s why we do it.”
Isn’t that why we got into journalism in the first place? And wouldn’t it be great if newspapers did a better job of tapping into that passion.