Found it very interesting reading some of the articles by Roy Greenslade on the local newspaper crisis. You can find these pieces here. www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2012/may/21/hyperlocal-media-local-newspapers
The second one is what interests me particularly. This is because it basically sums up my views on local news. At times interesting, often boring and certainly not financially viable.
Online news has a small audience, interesting stories can drum up a lot of hits no doubt about it. But just how big are these audiences and how loyal are the public going to be? You may go to an online site to get a big local story but will you go back once this event has finished?
As I’ve said before the problem for online news is there are papers that cover these stories and can also be seen on the television. Without statistically backing this up I would be fairly certain that most people who are interested in local news are an older generation. Would they swap the local papers for local online news? I doubt it.
Then ask anyone young about local stories and I’m pretty sure the majority will say they are not really bothered about it. Especially those from big cities.
These hyper-local websites which I admit can gain some interest but the reality is they are not long lasting. Advertisers are not putting any money into them because they no there is a much safer bet in their local newspapers.
Journalists are not going to invest a lot of time in boring news that not too many people read especially if they are not going to make much money from it.
Which has lead me to the conclusion that the only future for local online news sites are those run by journalists who want a bit of part time work or students who want somewhere to start off with in their career. There is a small audience for local online news but nowhere near big, or glamorous enough to attract reporters to write about it.