Hyperlocal news stepping up to the plate?

Ultrafocused local news sites have been around for quite some time now. But, as a New York Times story highlights, they may be in for their moment in the sun as newspapers falter.

Today's New York Times has a timely trend piece about the rise of "hyperlocal" news sites--those that aim to create or aggregate news down to the neighborhood (or block). The angle: will these sites take over as an increasing number of local newspapers go under?

If you read tech news regularly, you probably won't find much that's surprising in the article, since sites like and Placeblogger have been around for years now. But the question of what will happen, now that struggling newspapers are cutting back on their print editions, or even shutting down altogether, is now a not-so-local issue.

The Times story raises the usual concerns: thoroughness and accuracy. It spotlights one hyperlocal news site, Patch, which was founded and funded by incoming AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong and which aims for a hybrid of the user-generated and traditional news models by hiring community reporters.

What it doesn't mention: that The New York Times Company itself has threatened to shut down one of its regional newspaper properties, The Boston Globe.