Chapter 6: Charting Success, Sustainability
Seldom do the hyperlocal sites launched by individuals define or measure success in the same ways that traditional media organizations do.
There are as many definitions of “success” in the world of citizen media as there are types of hyperlocal news sites. Benchmarks will become more sharply defined as time goes on.
Seldom, though, do the hyperlocal sites launched by individuals define or measure success in the same ways that traditional media organizations do. They pay scant attention to numbers of unique visitors, page views or return on investment. And while more revenue would be nice - especially if the sites could make even token payments to their contributors - it is not essential.
“There is no success, there is no failure - there is only the process. If people find something they did not realize before - great. If not, it happens.”
Achieving even psychic success, however, invites questions about sustainability. While patting themselves on the back for their contributions and impact, citizen journalists are wrestling with the challenges of expanding their corps of contributors, growing their readership, and bringing in more revenues. They all have wish lists of things that would help them hang around.
Many volunteer sites are hoping to mature to the point that a broader coalition of volunteers will keep them going once first-generation enthusiasts step away. Volunteer co-ops face the challenges of establishing institutions of shared governance and operational responsibility. When they can finally afford to pay someone, who will it be?
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