The Lenfest Local Lab and The Philadelphia Inquirer today launched the first edition of The Hook, a weekly hyperlocal newsletter covering Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. This is the first in a series of hyperlocal newsletters the Lab and The Inquirer will test in a handful of other Philadelphia-area neighborhoods. 

The Lab is exploring how publishers can provide audiences more targeted news and information about their neighborhoods by leveraging technology and in collaboration with local community organizations. These types of customized products can build loyalty in a community, which is critical for the long-term sustainability of local news.

The experimental newsletters are supported by the Google News Initiative and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism. 

The Hook will leverage automation and collaboration to deliver reliable news and information. Each week, it will include curated news stories about Fishtown, safe in-person and virtual community events, real estate listings, information from local community groups, and more. Photographer Jaime Alvarez, who runs the Instagram account @fishtowndaily, is contributing his neighborhood photography to the project. 

You can sign up for The Hook here

The Lenfest Local Lab is the Lenfest Institute’s local news product development and user experience innovation team. The Lab operates as part of the Institute and works in the open to benefit the local news industry. 

The Lab and The Inquirer have spent several months developing The Hook through an extensive research and testing process. 

Faye Teng, the Lab’s user experience designer, tested and prototyped the newsletter with a research and design process that prioritized the needs of Fishtown residents. You can read more about the Lab’s UX process here

The Lab received valuable feedback and insights from Fishtown residents and local businesses including The Star, a neighborhood newspaper covering Fishtown; the Fishtown Neighbors Association; and the Fishtown Kensington Area Business Improvement District

For regular updates on The Hook and other neighborhood newsletters, follow the Lab on the Lenfest Institute website, on its Medium page, and on Twitter at @lenfestlab

Photo by Jaime Alvarez

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