The New York Times announced today that they will be ending their hyperlocal news collaborations, dubbed The Local, with both NYU and CUNY that cover the East Village, and the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. According to Capital, both schools were given a few weeks notice about the closure of the site, but are still are still working on a time-table for when they can detach from the Times (which gave the schools until the end of the year before the collaboration ends.)
A senior NY Times editor told Capital that, “This experiment has had a good run and the Times has learned some valuable lessons about hyperlocal journalism and collaboration. Now it wants to harvest those lessons and see where they might be applied.” The Times began their Fort Greene/Clinton Hill Local and New Jersey Local sites (Millburn, Maplewood and South Orange) when hyperlocal news was on the rise several years ago and AOL’s Patch was just beginning. The hope was that these sites would promote a combination of strong local reporting and citizen journalism at the local level, though the Times has made it clear from the beginning that The Local projects were meant to be “pilot projects.”
It didn’t take long after the original launch before the NY Times scaled back its involvement. By the beginning of January 2010, publishing duties for the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill site were completely handed over to CUNY. Six months later, the Jersey sites were shut down and replaced with NYU’s Local East Village- run by students with editorial guidance from the Times. According to Capital, The Local sites continued to benefit from the Times’ brand, but were mainly run by the schools and full-time editor professors for day-to-day management.
Now, the schools must decide what to do with the websites after they are no longer affiliated with the newspaper giant.