The hyperlocal online news project of the newspaper Het Belang van Limburg
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
Digitale proceedings van het Etmaal van de Communicatiewetenschap 2012, Leuven, 9-10 februari 2012
University of Antwerp
Hyperlocal news thrives. Also in Belgium, newspapers have jumped on the hyperlocal bandwagon. One of them is Het Belang van Limburg, a regional newspaper in Flanders. The newspaper actively encourages community members to contribute stories to the local news pages on its website HBvL.be. All citizen contributions are immediately published on the website, where they appear next to the professionally made news articles. Since the professional editorial content and the user-generated news content are not separated but co-exist within the same online news environment, it is interesting to investigate to what extent and in which ways contributions by local citizen journalists differ from the professional editorial news content in terms of topic selection and news values. The preliminary results of our content analysis give an indication of the use and added value of user-generated content, as compared to professional editorial content, for hyperlocal news production, both in terms of story coverage and newsworthiness.