Web site enables S.C. paper to be hyper-local

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Some publishers are trying to leverage two big strengths untouched by the digital revolution-local knowledge and local brand awareness-by building community Web sites interwoven with print products. One year ago in Bluffton, S.C., Morris Communications introduced a free, home-delivered daily paper designed to live in symbiosis with a new community "hub" Web site full of discussions and blogs.

Morris Publishing Group owns 27 daily newspapers, 12 weeklies and five city magazines, but launched the "hyper-local" Bluffton Today to emphasize a particularly local voice and invite local participation.

"Bluffton is one of the fastest-growing communities in the Southeast and is the perfect place to launch this new phase of newspaper and Web publishing," William S. Morris IV, president-CEO, said in announcing the debut.

Registered users at BlufftonToday.com can create their own blogs, post their own photos and add entries to areas like "events" and "recipes." They can comment on articles appearing in the print edition, and those comments may then be edited and appear in the hard copy itself.

The idea is local content and opportunities for local discussion will make the site, and the accompanying print product, "sticky" for readers getting new-media options every day. With no "Bluffton" section on Craigslist, it looks like it's worth a try.
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