When a local paper
dies, it hurts, writes Robert Washburn. Perhaps that’s why J-Source’s Innovation
section is so abuzz with discussion of reviving local
news, an endangered genre now touted as the answer to
mainstream media’s failures.
2009 has been an unusually difficult year for
local news outlets, but it’s also brought unprecedented opportunity to try new things.
For example, a new online local news
initiative is underway in Colborne, Ont., after Sun Media amalgamated several
local papers into one regional paper.
Although the trend is hyperlocal news
web sites, real ink still stains the wretches of Brockville, Ont., where former
Sun Media journalists launched the
Brockville Voice in August. Such examples are stark contrast to Brandon,
Man., where lack of vision has shut the doors
on a local TV station.
Meanwhile, journalists in the Czech Republic have stepped right
outside the box, creating hyperlocal news
cafés. Imagine it: “Gimme the latest waste management committee report straight up, no sugar.”
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