'Washington Post' experiments with hyper-local news in Virginia

The Washington Post, known for its detailed coverage of the White House and global affairs, last week introduced a Web site with news and other information for the people who live in Loudoun County, VA, population 272,000.

The site, www.loudounextra.com, is an experiment in hyper-local news and comes after the “Post” became an early leader in adapting video and multimedia to its general news coverage. The newspaper has been actively training its former print reporters to use multimedia tools.

The new hyper-local site, the “New York Times” reported, will feature church schedules, restaurant menus and real-time high-school football scores.

“There will be stories about things that normally would not make it into the pages of ‘The Washington Post,’ like mailboxes being knocked down,” Rob Curley, vice president of product development for Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, told the “Times.” “It has every Rotary meeting, every Bible study group. It is very local.”

Readers, the report said, will be able to download restaurant guides and other content from the site onto their iPods, phones and videogame consoles. By late summer, a new feature will let readers click on a street address and see all the closest events and news nearby.

If the Web site catches on, the newspaper said it might add sites for other counties or towns as it tries to increase online advertising revenue.

“Most hyper-local sites are 100 percent community publishing sites,” Curley said. “This is one percent community publishing.”