Hyperlocal blogging models have tried and failed in an attempt to bring blogging to a community level, but New Zealand enterprise Flying Pickle is proving that done right, small scale independent local news does have a future.
Flying Pickle is a free community blog for Korokoro, Maungaraki and Normandale, 3 suburbs on the outskirts of Wellington, New Zealand with an approximate population of 6,500 people. The goal of the site “is to bring the community together in an open and democratic environment where people can exchange views, news, opinions, advertise their businesses in a friendly and non-intrusive manner as well as find help and support from others.” Anyone living, working or just being connected to the area can join the blog and contribute content, be it an announcement, garage sale ad, news or opinion.
With a small target audience, the blog would struggle to be read by a sizable (and sustainable) portion of its target audience. To increase the publications reach, the best content from the blog is included in the Flying Pickle Print Edition that is regularly delivered free to every household in the target area. Around a third of the print edition includes ads, but only as many to cover the costs of the publication and to assist in the running of the site as Flying Pickle is run as a community non-profit organization.
ZetaPrints, who print the offline edition, has the full case study here including costs and numbers and it makes for an interesting read. It’s also a model that could well be copied elsewhere in the world.