Thursday, April 2, 2009

Time for a Local Newspaper

I got this from All About Cities, a Canadian blog concerning -what else- cities and urban development.
...residents are becoming more concerned with metro issues — whether transit, roads, housing and crime or the latest from the arts and entertainment scene. Policing, property and transportation issues as they affect day-to-day life in the city tend to be within the bailiwick of municipal governments. ...
This seems to fit the sentiment of a lot of folks in Lexington. Public safety issues, transit issues, land use and development issues and public accountability issues are all hot button items in the Herald Leader, if my reading of the comments online is accurate. I see very few comment or responses to articles on auto wrecks or house/business fires. Some may have something to say about a homicide or accidental death piece, but nothing like the furious exchanges on downtown development and administrative investigations ( be they state or local). Out of ten or so articles from the national and state news sections in this mornings edition I found only 1 lone comment.
...Attracting and retaining both businesses and the employees they want to hire also tends to be a city issue. ...
This is also a common complaint by those so called "creative class" enthusiasts who bemoan the loss of things for them to do and claim that there is a massive "brain drain". I have been hearing this sort of talk since I was in high school. That was 50 years ago.
Those urban dailies that don’t provide enough information on municipal initiatives or sufficient unique and local perspectives — and instead rely on boring newswire stories — are struggling.
Here is where the Lexington Herald Leader can step up to the plate. They need to give us more local flavor, more local opinion, more balance. To their credit, they can, in the space of a few hours, give us about a dozen views of the last night's basketball game, complete with good and bad points of all the action. But take a development piece and you get an information(developers) view and an opinion( I like it/don't like it) , that's all. If we don't demand more from our local newspaper, and by that I mean more local news and views, then we will end up with a situation like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer or the Rocky Mountain News. There are a host of bloggers here in Lexington, but to get a good balance of information you need someone to aggregate it into one place and so far no one is doing that.

And any one who does will get a lot of flack from both sides.


Ahavah Gayle said...

The Lexington Herald Leader is having a hard time figuring out that people are not going to pay to read two day old Wall Street Journal articles and stuff they already read last night online from the news wire agencies. I don't know WHY they can't figure it out, but they just can't seem to get a clue.

What people WILL pay for is uber-local news. They want to see their kid's pictures in the papers, for one thing. What the Herald Leader SHOULD be doing is covering every local sports event from pee-wee all the way to college level in detail, covering every event at every religious organization, every event at every charitable organization, every event at every civic organization, every school play or event from kindergarten to college, and every local neighborhood event. Then, as you noted, they need to give detailed information about government meetings at local and state level, including zoning and development. And they need to focus on local businesses, local and regional farms, local economic issues and such in detail. And finally, they need to accept more articles and opinion pieces from local writers in every day's newspaper.

Only by switching to an uber-local format can they survive, but they have no intention of doing this. Someone will simply have to wait until they fail, and then buy all their equipment and do it right. They can't think outside the outdated box.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ahavah but i would go further and say that we need journalists in the offices of local newspapers in the surrounding counties and Southern and Eastern Kentucky in order to make it more worthwhile for those in the region around us to invest in the Herald-Leader aswell.