Tuesday, February 10, 2009

what about local news?

I mostly agree with Michael Kinsley's NYTimes column today  about the disappearance of hard copy newspapers, but it makes me wonder what happens in smaller cities where the newspaper still plays a key role for advertising local merchants, creating community (or often, division) through coverage of local events, and aggregrating local content such as obituaries, arrests, and weddings.  Where will citizens go for this information?


John said...

Hey, Robin -- Hope all is well. Couldn't resist responding to this one! -- JohnB


Q: "Where will citizens go for this [local] information?"
A: Well, in the case of Pasadena CA, the local paper has chosen your new hometown: Bangalore. Kid you not! (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/opinion/30dowd.html)

As for your old hometown, the WashPost's ever vigilant media reporter, Howard Kurtz, refreshes the well-worn "newspaper death spiral" story today by reporting on the Cinderella-like rise of specialized niche/trade publications (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/10/AR2009021003935.html). Just to depress you further, the question Kurtz raises is, in effect: where will *all* US citizens go for watchdog/monitor-type coverage of our government? "Bad for democracy" indeed...

Robin King said...

Yeah, I had seen that some Pasadena paper was having its articles written here in bangalore. Idiotic.

In terms of your point on watchdog/monitor type reporting, I think that certain single issues will get handled, where the activists already know that something is wrong with what the government is doing, but I do worry about the "big picture" investigative work.