Hearst Goes Hyperlocal With Helium

Hearst Newspapers will roll out the “social publishing platform” of Helium, a sort of giant freelance marketplace for hyperlocal content, Andover, Mass.-based Helium said Wednesday.

Helium provides a place where local writers can contribute articles on a wide variety of topics. The articles are rated by other writers for quality control, and writers are paid, usually for about $20 to $50 for each piece.

Hearst will use Helium’s freelance Marketplace to identify a stable of community stringers, who are compensated for contributing articles on a variety of topics.

Hearst will also launch Helium’s community debate that allows readers to post articles and comments in a debate format.

Helium said Hearst plans to go live with the platform at two of its Connecticut newspapers, including the Connecticut Post, in the next few weeks.

“We are excited to help this prestigious media company to easily and cost-effectively produce quality, custom, local and lifestyle content while also increasing their ability to engage readers and serve as a ‘virtual’ town meeting place,” said Peter Newton, the former Boston Globe advertising executive who is now vice president of business development for Helium.

Lincoln Millstein, Hearst newspaper’s senior vice president for digital media said the chain is a “pioneer in leveraging new models that will transform the newspaper industry.”

“Sourcing Helium’s top-notch writers will allow us to continue to deliver superior local and lifestyle content to our readers while also taking the necessary steps to get our costs in line with today’s economic realities,” he said.

Helium was the subject of an article in the January print edition of E&P.