Back at the start of last year, Flipboard launched a dedicated Local tab to highlight news and content from publications in about two dozen markets across the US and Canada. Today, the company is introducing a new discovery mechanism that will allow users to find local stories that come from 1,000 cities, towns and regions across North America.
After downloading the latest version of Flipboard, the app will prompt you to share your location with the company so that it can provide you with regional content. Flipboard hasn't asked for its users to share their location data in the past but says it designed this feature with a "privacy-centric" approach in mind. You won't be automatically enrolled, and there's a "coarse" accuracy setting to protect your exact location. Additionally, the company says it won't store your historical location data on its servers.
After sharing your location and selecting the topics and places you want to follow, you'll see stories appear in the Following tab. Flipboard will also surface them in your For You feed. The stories themselves will run the gamut of subjects, including everything from COVID-19 updates to sports coverage and restaurant recommendations.
"With this endeavor we want to make local news and information easier to discover and access by bringing together disparate sources of information in one place, organized by location," Flipboard CEO Mike McCue said in a statement.
For Flipboard, this is a significant expansion in its commitment to local news. By October of last year, the company had rolled regional coverage to 60 metropolitan areas across the US. Of course, it's one thing to make a feature available in a place and another to actually support it properly. Just ask Facebook, which has struggled to populate its Today In feature with stories from local publications. For its part, Flipboard says its data team spent a "significant" amount of time curating local news sources based on geography. The company also plans to cast a wide net by pulling in content from national outlets, as well as blogs, broadcasters and Flipboard Magazines.