Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saving local news, will it work? What do you think?




With 20,000 or more journalists and other newspaper professionals out of work, and tradtional printed newspapers seeming to shrink all the time, who's going to cover local news?

Publisher Carll Tucker, right, developed a local news franchise and sold it to Gannett; now it's just not the same.

But maybe by applying some old-fashioned country editor principles to modern technology, his franchise business plan will save local news franchises.

Personal finance columnist and author Jane Bryant Quinn, left, says she is involved because she's a believer in local news.


Take a look at our story on Jilted Journalists.
What do you think?
Will it work?
Would you try it?


Please add you comment.

2 comments:

R said...

"People care about their community, they care about its politics, knowing other people, supporting local stores, restaurants, soccer teams, schools, libraries..."

"Only local papers bring that all together."


Really, do they care that much? Is there any data to back that up? How much do people actually care about politics except during a election year? Voter turnout seems to show that people DONT care about elections unless it is a presidential year...

Also, most people nationwide support WalMart or HomeDepot instead of local stores, because they are cheaper, have more selection, and better hours.

Most people that I know do not care about little league soccer unless they have a kid involved in it. And if they do, they were there live and know the results of the weekend tournament without having to read a local news website. How often have you followed little league baseball in your town lately if you do not have a kid there. (Obvious exception is high school football in Texas, but there is already strong media coverage of those games.)

A lot of the small, little free weekly or every-other-day papers that big time journalists used to ignore already have 'hyper-local' websites. I can't imagine that there would be enough readers out there to generate enough ad revenue to go to dailytown.com, a national website, AND the website of the local paper.

Here are some examples of smaller market suburbs that have hyper-local coverage by small papers already:
www.smdailyjournal.com
www.tricityvoice.com
www.paloaltoonline.com

And, many of the major paper websites (www.sfgate.com, www.mercurynews.com) have a strong presence on the web already, and do a good job covering regional news and suburban news.

Lastly, Yahoo and Google both have features to pull major headlines from local papers, customizable by each user. Her ideas were already created when newspapers began making websites in the early 1990s.

I think she is behind the times, and is just creating a new buzzword for this old idea, "hyper-local." As a national media 'star' she probably just is not aware of how local media really works.

Anonymous said...

Why not just start an online newspaper for an area. The key would be to get people to look at it. This could be done by publicizing the site locally at council meetings, clubs and local events. I do not think that towns of 15,000 to 30,000 have 1,000 business. Expecting 10 percent to advertise seems high. Businesses outside of the town may be prospects. You might be able to have a classified section with some paid adds.

Looking at what Carll Tucker and Jane Bryant Quinn they say they will provide makes me question if it is worth the royalty and other fees.

Among the tools and support:

-Editorial template and content management system.

This should be relatively easy for an experienced person.

-Billing.

This is a no brainer with QuickBooks

-National advertising.

Would be an advantage depending on how much will go to the franchisees and how much they procure

-Local ad sales instruction.

-Marketing solutions.

-Teaching.

-Local promotion support.

-Continuing education.

-Community of fellow publishers to exchange ideas.

I have my doubts about the value of the above