The Town Crier

Way back when, I suspect that no one much cared what was going on in Washington (and I suppose there are a great number of folks who feel that way now, but this is NOT a political blog!).  The things they cared about were what was going on in their own backyard and maybe the backyards a town or two over.  Media – basically the newspaper – was inherently local since in general news didn’t travel fast enough to make it timely for the daily or even weekly paper.

Fast forward a couple of hundred years.  The Times printed a story today about how newspapers are cutting their national and world reportage to focus on local.

Half of all papers said they had increased the amount of state and local news they published, especially “hyper-local” community news…the shrunken newsrooms have taken on added duties in feeding their Web sites, like producing subsites covering specific towns or neighborhoods, or posting articles in the morning and updating them throughout the day.

Given that a story in Moscow is on the web and known in NY within minutes (maybe sooner if Twitter was ever up and working), I’m not sure why this is a bad thing.  World and national news has sort of become a commodity.  Good local reporting is rare and there aren’t enough people in any town doing it.   Any brand needs to distinguish itself in some manner and regurgitating the same AP story as every other news outlet isn’t doing that.  Frankly, besides the Times, Journal, and a few other major papers, there isn’t a whole lot of original content happening outside of the metro desk.

So why do the news guys seem upset about this?  If I’m them, I get to the head of the line in my town before the radio, TV, and local web guys get there first.

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