Skills for journalists in print and digital media.

Future of local news skills

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As 2009 and the ’00 decade wind down, established news organizations and a growing number of digital folks are circling back to local news in search of the elusive formula for local content and profit.

  • Politico recently hired Jim Brady, former executive editor of  to establish a local news site in Washington D.C., of which Brady says,”I was in journalism for 24 years. I wanted to do something that helps guide a path for other people in terms of building businesses around journalism. Local is an appealing area to be in, because if you can do something well in Washington, then others can look at that model and try that too.”
  • MSN has a new deal with NBC and Hearst to add more content to its Local News page.
  • Local news aggregator is growing, signing deals with CNN, Dow Jones, and others. CEO Mark Josephson says the plan is to “…continue to evolve so that more publishers can do more things with all the data we aggregate and organize. We’re going to do more things for local bloggers to drive more traffic and help them build their business and we are going to continue to evolve our core site so that people can get more answers about what’s going on right around them.”
  • The recent Interactive Local Media Conference put on by BIA/Kelly brought together a variety of people all trying to figure out the best formula for local news  and other content. Summarizing what he heard, Mark Briggs of Journalism 2.0 concluded:  “While we’re just getting started here, some urgency is required. News enterprises, large and small, need to gear up their ‘local online’ strategy, seizing the opportunity to cash in while connecting local businesses with local consumers. Before it’s too late.”
  • The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are pushing forward with local sections in cities outside New York City. The NYT San Francisco effort, for example, includes a news blog devoted to the Bay area. Similarly, ESPN is expanding its own network of local sites in major cities, including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. Plans are for as many as 20.
  • The local news guide offered for freelancers just a few months ago by Michelle Rafter in WordCount, as well as MediaShift Mark Glaser’s occasional roundups need constant updates.

So as 2010 unfolds, it will be interesting to watch what kind of content emerges as the core of a successful site. And from that, people focused on staff development will have to consider what news-gathering competencies stay and the same and what new ones emerge.


Written by mroberts8

December 16, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Posted in Newstraining, Training

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