FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Free Plugin Application Makes Hyperlocal News Reporting Truly Hyper Local
New York, NY—On the heels of the Pokémon Go craze– the location-based gaming app that has swept the nation– Bloom Labs introduces “Bloom for Publishers,” the first-ever geolocation plugin designed to increase the power of community news journalism by turning hyperlocal reporting into a more customized and targeted experience.
Using geotagging and proximity techniques, the free tool gives readers the ability to find the local news they need instantly, within as little as a few blocks of their current location or any place in the city. Since Bloom is a distributed platform, any publisher can install Bloom on their website within just a few minutes, it even comes with a WordPress plugin that simplifies the process further. This means that readers can have a personal, local experience without leaving the publisher’s website.
Bloom is the brainchild of coders Stephen and Matthew Jefferson, two brothers who, through the Tow-Knight journalism fellowship program, have been working on the technology beginning fall 2014. The inaugural platform was first tested, launched and now can be experienced on BK Reader, a Brooklyn-based daily hyperlocal news site founded in 2013.
“We set out to make local reporting a more targeted and real-time experience beyond what current mapping plugins, like Google Maps, aim to provide,” said Stephen. “Bloom for Publishers empowers the user to pinpoint where they are and then the stories are brought to them. It’s like Pokémon Go for journalism; users can now walk around to different locations and see what events, what news or crime stories have been reported around them.”
The basic version of Bloom for Publishers is free and just requires an account registration to set up. Once installed, it puts publishers in total control of what is searchable, displaying only those articles specified by its authors. The plugin appears as a small, color-customizable floating icon with a popup window, and/or interactive map, designed to conform with many different layouts and devices, including tablets and phones.
The Bloom plugin tracks user behavior and provides the sort of “smart” analytics that over time empowers news publishers to learn from local readership and further customize the app’s real-time functionality. User engagement can be tested right now at www.bkreader.com.
“We looked at a lot of sites around New York City, and we approached the Brooklyn Reader, amongst several others, because their news platform impressed us as an authentic voice of Brooklyn,” said Matthew. “In addition, they cover neighborhoods in Brooklyn with a lot of buzz and activity due to rapid real estate and cultural-artistic development, so we saw a lot of room for growth.”
“When Stephen first approached us about the idea, immediately I saw the value of a geolocation tool for our readers,” said C. Zawadi Morris, founder and publisher of BK Reader. “But they needed to test applications on our backend, meet with us regularly and get feedback on what worked from a journalistic standpoint, and I wasn’t sure we had the time or the bandwidth. But we agreed, and they were great partners. BK Reader is honored to have been a part of the development of this inaugural platform. But more importantly, we’re excited to offer this level of customization to our readers—literally, block-by-block reporting!”
In addition to having this experience integrated on news websites, users can also discover local news on Bloom’s global map, a collaborative space with news contributed by many publishers.
“There’s a lot of excitement around geolocation in many industries right now, because it is the most effective way to engage people real-time,” said Stephen. “It’s about time newsrooms got on board, and we at Bloom are thrilled to have made it possible.”
To learn more about Bloom and to register and download the plugin, visit them on the web at www.bloom.li.