Trying to crack what Borrell Associates says will be a $15.5 billion local advertising market by 2015, both the New York Times (NYT) and AOL (TWX) launched local news blog networks this year. The Times calls its effort “Local.” AOL bought local blog network Patch in June.
And, because there somehow aren’t enough communities in need of local news coverage for the two of them, both AOL and the Times launched their networks with blogs in same place: Maplewood, New Jersey.
This wasn’t a coincidence. According to a Fast Company story on the Times and AOL’s efforts, each company picked Maplewood because it already has a vibrant local blogging scene and a lot of reporters live around town.
But what AOL and NYT execs forgot — or chose to ignore — is that reporters and local bloggers are, by nature, a whiney an activist-minded bunch.
So as soon as Patch and Local opened up shop in Maplewood, there began a series of minor insurrections.
Fortunately — for all parties involved, let’s be honest — Maplewood’s local news bloggers (MOL, anyone?) couldn’t seem to muster a defence of their turf more drastic than a few message board complaints and geeky pranks.
Fast Company: When the Local was first announced in Maplewood, the largest of the town’s many home-brewed sites, Maplewood Online, hosted a very active conversation in the “Now the NY Times Invades MOL’s Turf” thread of its community message board. In one of Bulger’s first weeks on the job, a prankster annoyed with Patch’s colonial ambitions tried to trick him into posting a story about local gangs whose leaders happened to share the names of characters from the movie Ghostbusters. The Local has encountered similar resistance to its two sites in blog-filled Brooklyn as well. “They’re worried,” explains the Local’s Kelley, “about the big media companies coming in and taking up [their local sites’] advertising dollars.”
(Or watch this awesome Ghostbuster‘s trailer…)
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