What we learned from launching a hyperlocal news brand

In early 2020, a small team within Grupo AM – the leading news company in the Bajío region of Mexico – set out to build a brand new hyperlocal news product. With CodigoPostal.com they aimed to provide trusted independent local news from a variety of sources in one place.

To do this, the CodigoPostal.com content management system (CMS) was to be different from off-the-shelf products, in that it was centered around geographic location (postal codes) as a way of organizing information. It enabled the creation of what we called CoPos, subsections of the main news website that served specific communities within large urban centers.

CoPos, which was a recipient of the 2019 Google News Initiative Latin America Innovation Challenge, contained not only original content, but also aggregated articles from traditional news sources – including Grupo AM’s brands – combined with useful local information such as COVID-related data, weather, business listings and events.

The culmination of this initial phase of the project’s efforts came in 2021 when our team published 140 original pieces and several daily newsletters each week. This entailed aggregating over 600 local news articles using human-assisted Artificial Intelligence (AI) sorting (i.e. matching content to postal code using machine learning and swipe-based user experience), and creating over 200 machine-generated articles in three different subject matters. The CMS also delivered automated email newsletters based on users’ postal codes.

Thinking back through the CodigoPostal.com journey, it’s surprising how different it all looks today versus when we started. It was both surprisingly manageable to develop this project in a fully-remote setup, and also, incredibly hard to focus and communicate when everyone was working from home. We were able to do a great deal in a very small period of time (and in the middle of a global pandemic), a reflection of the work and dedication of our core team of five developers, a handful of full-time journalists and a bunch of interns.