GoHampshire, a new Mobile Main Street app, released

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A second community newspaper launched its mobile app this month as part of the WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism’s Mobile Main Street project. The app is designed to not only enhance economic development in the community but will also test a new source of revenue for newspapers.

GoHampshire, now available for iPhone and iPad, is a local guide and directory for readers of the Hampshire Review. The app features local news stories for Hampshire County, W.Va., as well as an interactive directory for finding and sharing local businesses.

Editor of the Hampshire Review, Sallie See, says the app is unique because it is tailored to meet their readers’ needs and includes channels such as buy local, live local, features and outdoor sports.

See says the weekly newspaper has plans to monetize their app in 2013.

“Currently we have one advertiser on the app. They are already up to speed with social media and have their own app,” said See. “This is a new concept for some of our advertisers, but we’ll educate them and bring them on board.”

Assistant Professor Dana Coester, who leads the Mobile Main Street project, says the GoHampshire app will strengthen the relationship between local businesses and local media space.

“This app is driving mobile economic activity and marketing through the local media,” said Coester. “We hope that the GoHampshire app can serve as a model for other community newspapers experimenting with monetization of mobile space.”

The Mobile Main Street project is an initiative to engage small-community organizations, businesses and media in mobile app development and marketing to help fuel economic development in local communities. Other pilot partners include Tucker and McDowell counties; Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine in Stumptown, W.Va.; The Parsons Advocate in Tucker County, W.Va., and the Spirit of Jefferson in Shepherdstown, W.Va. A sixth partner was selected through a competitive process and will be announced early next year.

Ultimately, Coester’s vision is for Mobile Main Street to serve as a platform for community groups and businesses to reach new audiences, an alternative revenue stream for local media and a technology-transfer project for the School of Journalism.

To date, the project has received a total of $250,000 in grant funding, beginning with a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation in February 2011to deploy the pilot app and to research its impact. Earlier this year, the School received additional grants from Verizon, the Verizon Foundation and CTIA – The Wireless Association to expand efforts into additional communities and to begin development of the free-ware application.

CTIA recently featured the Mobile Main Street project in “Wonder of Wireless,” a monthly series of videos on new products, services and initiatives that benefit consumers. The video is available on the CTIA site and on YouTube.

For more information about the Mobile Main Street project, visit

http://mymobilemainstreet.com/.

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