In mid-August, Seattle-based Fisher Communications, Inc. launched 43 hyperlocal websites that integrate news content from KOMO, the ABC affiliate Fisher owns, with user generated content based on Seattle neighborhoods. Each site is devoted to a specific neighborhood and has its own unique URL (Bellevue’s is www.bellevueKOMO.com).
In a recent interview with the Puget Sound Business Journal, Troy McGuire, VP of news and GM of Fisher, discussed how the new online platform would affect KOMO’s newsroom and emphasized that operations would shift towards producing content for the web first and the newscast second.
Some news teams worry that posting content online before it airs on TV will inhibit viewers from tuning in: not KOMO. McGuire says, “we are fully trying to get 90 percent of our content, if not more, published to the web first.”
Relying on local reporting from users with iPhones, McGuire envisions a process where news stories start on the local level and build towards being part of a newscast. “Our hope is that they start posting first to the neighborhood sites,” he said. “Then, if it’s a big enough story, it gets published to Komonews.com, and then of course to TV as a finished product at 4 and 5 or whatever newscast is next.”
Fisher is turning to Windermere Real Estate agents, who are immersed in the community, to provide a portion of their content, though McGuire says they aren’t allowed to write about real estate. He insists “We don’t want it to look like there’s an ad. There’s been no money that has changed hands in this deal.”
In the future, Fisher plans to launch similar hyperlocal Web sites in its other markets, starting this fall with Portland, Oregon.