Stories about hyper local news are everywhere these days. Commentators and journalists can’t agree on whether companies like Patch are going to save or destroy Journalism (I capitalize on purpose, to illustrate to magnitude of the industry), or maybe just change it drastically. My vote is for the third option.
I think Journalism is to big to fail, to borrow a phrase from the recently banking/economic/financial crisis. I mean this in a slightly different way, though. It’s not that Journalism is so mighty that we can’t allow it fail because doing so would bring our society its knees. It’s more like this: Journalism is so vast, so messy, and so pervasive that its failure would be a akin to the undoing of entire languages; to wit, impossible. How can you undo Chinese or Swahili?
People will always want news. How they get it and where they get it are the key questions. Times change. The hunger for information and knowledge –not to mention gossip, sports scores, porn and other content– is pretty constant. In fact, recent studies seem to indicate we’re getting hungrier for news and information.
Blogs and social media allow non-journalists to join the conversation and share content. Journalists using so-called legacy platforms and digital media are likely to alway have jobs finding, synthesizing, and interpreting events, issues, and concepts. We represent the public, going where others don’t go and asking questions people need us to ask.
That’s my two cents. Here’s a roundup of some recent writings and musings about hyper local news:
- Quill (Society of Professional Journalists). Article: “What the Patch?”
- Jim Brady leaves TBD, by Steve Buttry
- Sarah Hartley Q&A with Jim Brady on his departure from TBD
- Robert Hernandez asks, “Is Patch Evil?”
- Patch Editor-in-Chief Brian Farnham answers Hernandez.
- From across the pond: MyNewtown.co.uk and STV.com (Scotland)