outside.in, the local news site co-founded by geographer-historian Steven Johnson, launched a service called Radar which claims to feed you news from within 1,000 feet of your stated location. Similar to the other hyper-local services like EveryBlock and Topix, their service parses blogs and other social media for stories tied to a specific location.
outside.in also added GeoToolkit for publishers that want to geo-tag their feeds and take advantage of outside.in distribution. For users, they’ve synched with Yahoo’s FireEagle platform to automate updating of your location. The “news within 1,000 feet” is a compelling promise and hopefully it will generate enough interest in the service so they can reach critical mass.
Local news is a hard nut to crack. I still get the best results from a variety of bloggers that cover my home town which I can share via My Yahoo. The winning solution is going to be a hybrid of automated parsing (which has it’s own limitations) and crowd-sourced editorial that brings in the right people with the right set of incentives. Local Newspapers have the institutional clout to invite local participation but I’m still looking for a site that expands on the seemless integration of community blogs at the Lawrence-Journal (work incidentally started by EveryBlock’s founder, Adrian Holovaty).
Who’s going to write the CMS platform for the local newspaper that wants to go online?