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Local News

I rarely link to Duncan, but today he hit on one of my pet peeves with the entire media: local news.

He agrees with me, and most reasonable people that the convention wisdom in the media business that “you can’t make money with local news”, is totally backwards. Local news is the one thing you can’t get on a thousand outlets on line, like the AP stories that fill too many papers.

When I came back to this area about two decades ago, you could get local news from the Puppy Trainer, a couple of local radio stations, and even some coverage of the bigger stories in the Pensacola News Journal, and Channel 3 in Pensacola. These days, you would be surprised to discover we have local governments, unless someone gets arrested.

If you hear a dozen sirens go by, don’t expect to read about it in the local paper, which is often smaller than most volunteer newsletters. What is the point of subscribing if they aren’t going to cover the local news.

We have all of these new sources of information, but there is almost no local reporting anymore to feed into them. People are dependent on press releases from politicians, rather than factual reporting by local reporters. Could the Sheriff’s Office have gotten so far off the track if a local reporter was watching them?

If the local paper isn’t going to report the local news, what is its reason for existing?

7 comments

1 cookie jill { 01.21.10 at 11:29 pm }

Our local paper, the SB News-Press exists to give it’s owner “Wendy” an opportunity to slime and smear our local politicians and the paper’s former editor-in-chief. It also gives her an appearence of legitimacy as she only got her bazillions of dollars from divorcing her husband. Makes her look better when she can say she runs a paper.

In SB we get our local news from edhat.com, the local SB Independent and various blogs.

2 Bryan { 01.21.10 at 11:37 pm }

“Wendy” spent too much time in Neverland to successfully integrate into the real world. She should be returned, so everyone can enjoy life.

I’m surprised that she hasn’t been sued, because there is an awful lot of evidence of malice in her case. I remember reading about her after a friend in SoCal asked about alternate advertising ideas as he didn’t want to be involved in her fantasy world. Apparently his clients were reading something into the fact that he was advertising in the paper, beyond having an extended contract at a very good rate. No one likes to associate with crazy.

3 Steve Bates { 01.22.10 at 10:40 am }

“I rarely link to Duncan, but today he hit on one of my pet peeves…”

Hmmm… “Linkin’ Duncan is my name, and here’s my song…”
.-= last blog ..Samantha’s Diner =-.

4 Moi;) { 01.22.10 at 5:18 pm }

They Won’t (or Don’t) exist any more, Bryan. Our local Puppy Trainer went out of business over a year ago, and our area is hurting because of it. A couple of people started blogs but tbey are just not enough….you can’t read about the high school kids sports, etc., or obituaries….it’s awful.
.-= last blog ..Balls. =-.

5 Bryan { 01.22.10 at 9:21 pm }

And I hit on your record collection, Steve…

That’s the thing, Moi, people like to read about themselves and people they know. They want to know: who was born: who died; who got married; who got divorced; who was robbed; who did the robbing; what happened at the school, the courthouse, the town hall. They want to know about local things, and don’t mind paying for it.

My Mother pays $12/year for the monthly newsletter for her little hometown in New York to read about the people she knew.

It is very possible to print a local newspaper without any wire feeds, as people can get that stuff from TV, but no one else is covering the local neighborhood.

You can get your news with freelancers until you build your subscriber base, on a per story basis. As long as you don’t go into hock, like the major companies have done, you can stay in the black.

6 Rook { 01.26.10 at 10:10 am }

One of the interesting developments up here in the borderland is a website called “Bring Me The News” which links to small town local papers in Minnesota. I have to say, it is actually quite good, and might spur local papers to focus even more locally, instead of using the “Dreaded AP.”

Here is a link: http://www.bringmethenews.com/
.-= last blog ..Man, Do I Know How He Feels =-.

7 Bryan { 01.26.10 at 10:30 pm }

The closest we have to a site like that down here is the Bizarre Florida site down on the Right sidebar, but it just covers the weird in Florida, so I have to hit all those other sites looking for news.