We say often that the most exciting and interesting things in Memphis are happening away from the halls of government and the power structure.

There are so many grassroots projects, so much imagination by young Memphians, so much confidence that Memphis can change its trajectory, and so much interest in improving the communications that join us in moving our city ahead.

We thought of that again today as we made our first visit to the new website, www.micromemphis.com, which describes itself as a hyperlocal news hub.

We’ve learned that it’s the idea of Lurene Cachola-Kelley, assistant professor of news at University of Memphis Department of Journalism.  It seems to us that the former television reporter has the potential to put together one of the largest news teams in Memphis with the 200 news students at our alma mater.

Her idea is to report on Memphis neighborhood by neighborhood. Micromemphis.com launched last month with reporting about Cooper-Young.  The work is being done by students who are learning their craft (but as a proud former journalism student at U of M), I can say that there’s no substitute for the enthusiasm and energy that they bring to this project.

From our point of view, the project has the potential to become the Memphis version of two of our favorite sites in Detroit and Pittsburgh – respectively Model D and Pop City.

There’s a lot already on micromemphis.com, so add it to your list of favorites and keep an eye on it.  Best of all, it’s a cogent reminder of what University of Memphis adds to our city and reminds us how its outreach programs and its actionable research can have such a positive impact on Memphis.

Here’s what it says on its home page:

We are a big small town always getting looked over and underappreciated. It sucks, but I don’t mind it, because I feel like I know something other people don’t.” Memphis musician Jeff Hulett

What don’t you know about Memphis? Whether you’re a local or, heaven forbid, from Nashville, it may be more than you think. That’s why we’re telling Memphis stories at the micro level. We know it’s the small things that make a neighborhood…a neighborhood.

MicroMemphis is a hyperlocal news hub produced by the University of Memphis Department of Journalism. The hyperlocal part means we cover stories in and about a distinct section of the city bound by street borders, school districts, but mostly, just by people. Each year, student-journalists cover one neighborhood in the Memphis area. This site is a collection of original reports, videos, and pictures about that community.

The hub part means that we don’t just create new content. We know the web is already a rich source of information about neighborhood stories.We consider it our job to dig through those links, Tweets, and news reports that round out the story of a community. Then we put it all in one place.

First stop – Cooper-Young.


Note: The video is by MicroMemphis reporter Brennan Somers covering the protest against CVS in midtown.