Monthly Archives: November 2012

Online local news- Who really wants to write about this?

Found it very interesting reading some of the articles by Roy Greenslade on the local newspaper crisis. You can find these pieces here.

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.


Social media has made news fun for everyone

Social media has changed journalism and for the better! Without backing this up statistically I am pretty sure that a lot of people who were previously not interested in news have now become engaged because of social media.

Facebook, Twitter, UGC have all changed journalism. If you wanted news before you had to either get a newspaper or in the latter years go on a news website.  Nowadays how many of you go to your Twitter to be updated on the news?  When I woke up the other day the first I did was log on to Twitter to see who had won the American presidency election.

It has also made news more conversational.  Comments under Facebook and YouTube engage readers whilst retweets on Twitter can show your point of view without even having to type anything.

Reading the rise of social media and its impact on social media on mainstream Journalism, Nic Newman makes the point that we are halfway through the social media experiment. I would agree with this as what will happen to it in the future is unclear.

I don’t think it could ever replace the traditional format of news. The main reason being you can never be sure how official a story that breaks from social media is. 

A good example for me would to relate it to a form of news I’m very familiar with – football transfers.  Many times you get people who claim to be “in the know” break a transfer story. Sometimes they are right sometimes they are wrong. Yet most people will say they will wait until it’s on a more official site before believing it.

This illustrates a problem with social media. It’s quick, way quicker than any news broadcasters. The death of Michael Jackson was a good example of this. However it will always have those trust issues. 

This was summed up nicely in the article when it stated that social media is a nice alternative but it will not replace rolling TV coverage or proper considered analysis of an event once the dust has settled.

Janine Gibson of the Guardian said: “Social media tools help coverage come alive in a way that has been previously difficult for newspaper.”

I think this is spot on and links to the headline about social media making news more fun.  Social media gives journalists the tools to really paint a clear picture of what they are witnessing, which can be much easily illustrated compared to a news report where you have time to think and reflect on your thoughts.

As stated earlier people do eventually want those analytical pieces but they also want the chaos and madness of what is currently happening on events such as riots, presidential debates and award ceremonies to name a few.

Furthermore social media are coming together. How many times have you seen an event advertised through Twitter, shown on Facebook with the video recorded via YouTube?

When you read articles whether online or in papers you will see that next to the journalist name is also the Twitter address. This shows that companies are recognising the impact social media is having on news and want to be a part of it.