When Hyper-Local Doesn't Work
I realize I’m a day late on this–that’s 6 1/2 days in blog years–but the Wall Street Journal story on the Washington Post’s missteps with LoudonExtra.com is a very worthwhile read. As every station person out there is endlessly chirping about being hyper-local, the Washington Post sought to launch a microsite dedicated to a growing and affluent Washington suburb–a "virtual town square" the good people of Loudon County could call their own, with Little League news, a church database, restaurant info, etc.
Post CEO Don Graham tapped Rob Curley to head up the project. Curley had built successful newspaper-related sites in several other states, such as KUSports.com in conjunction with the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. Curley was named v.p. of product development, but LoudonExtra.com never took off. Curley told WSJ reporter Russell Adams the Post would hog all the good news stories happening in Loudon County, and was very reluctant to so much as link to LoudonExtra.com.
For his part, Curley admits he spent way too much time in the boardroom and not nearly enough in and around Loudon County–"LoCo," to locals–getting to know what makes the county tick.
Curley is now off the Loudon beat and is heading to Vegas to launch a similar venture for the Las Vegas Sun.
The story also offers the reader the very rare opportunity to see the word "dude" in the Wall Street Journal. "I was the one who was supposed to know we should be talking to Rotary Club meetings every day," Curley told the paper. "I dropped the ball. I won’t drop it in Vegas, dude."