Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Saving community news

Is local news coverage dying? Many in the industry think it's in a weaker position now than ever before. As newsrooms get slashed and wire services take on a larger role in news-gathering, the smaller stories and local communities are among the first to suffer from lack of coverage.

Newsvine brings us the latest on the subject, courtesy of the Associated Press. The Knight Foundation, working alongside the Aspen Institute, are funding a commission to find just what's happening to local news. The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy, co-chaired by Former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson and Google executive Marissa Mayer, will examine just how much local news is being produced, and if it adequately serves the needs of community members. From the Knight Foundation Web site:

As our choices for getting news and information proliferate, the need remains for local, reliable, contextual civic information. Is it being met, and if not, what are the consequences?

The shift of the media biz - and newspapers in particular - towards a Wal-Mart model of journalism has been an object lesson on how public service and private profits don't always coexist peacefully. How we reconcile the needs of the community with the desires of big business is a riddle waiting to be solved. Right now, the powers-that-be are only hearing from the accountants or listening to the shareholders, and without a solid understanding of the news-gathering side of the business, they're in rough waters trying to navigate a solution that works for everybody. For our sake I hope they figure it out soon, because the public won't wait forever. If not, it might take an outright rejection by the reading public, or some other outside intervention, to keep the big players from going bankrupt.

1 comment:

christy said...

the local news is neither