10 thoughts on “Think different about local news”

  1. I agree the local news of the future will look nothing like the current local news. I wonder if the right solution is waiting for enough API’s to mash up local in a way that works well in a mobile app and personalizes to the user.

  2. The role of local news is not just to serve up information about traffic, restaurants etc. but to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”. We need local news to keep our politicians and corporations honest. Relying just on the NYT and the ProPublicas of the world to do investigative journalism is IMO a little too late because a lot of these problems start at the local level before bubbling to the national level. See for eg. the GW bridge closing. Also, if local media does not pay attention, we end up electing the wrong legislators who can cause a lot of damage that cascade to the national level (see how gerrymandering and redistricting have impacted governance in the United States). So I would be more tempered in my call for more citizen journalism and leave it to the professionals to do their job.

    1. I think there are two aspects of the local news and one aspect is news and the other is community. No were did I use the phrase citizen journalism — instead what I am suggesting is citizen based information sharing and discussion. That is very different that citizen journalism. Also, at a local level, the stories/exposes are rather rare because none of the papers really have the resources to get deeper investigations done. And even when they do, it is pretty rare.

      1. Om – What you say is all valid and sorry about the sloppy verbiage. But given what you say about resource constraints, would it not be better for money to be invested towards more investigative efforts than just another me-too app/platform? It might sound utopian but I feel that serious local news outside of community sourced information has a place in the media ecosystem of the future and it is vital for folks like you, with your access, to lead the charge to make local news more relevant.

        1. Krishnan

          The problem is that most of those in the media assume that investigative journalism is what the community needs. What community at local level needs is information that is relevant to their daily life. These days it means getting it fast and usually this is from people within the community. For investigative reports, there are new ways to finance the news — Beacon Reader and Inkshares are two perfect example of new platforms that can help with deeper reports. IN my experience, some of the toughest investigative work has come from local blogs that are run by individuals or groups from within the community. I don’t think the model of the old news works anymore in a local context.

  3. While I enjoy Twitter and Facebook for news snippets from friends and people I follow, for local news I enjoy one of my local newspapers, The VC Star. Their app provides me with notifications of local stories as they happen. I love the idea of aggregation, but when the VC Star can put a story together for me and alert me, as opposed to creating my own story from my aggregated feed, I can go on with my day without having to do research.

    The Patch was an outsiders attempt at understanding our local community, and probably did more harm than good, purely by providing loss-leading advertising rates with a short-term goals of achieving traffic to pay back their investors.

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