Take a minute to think about how many newspapers are delivered to your house. My family gets three delivered to our house; the local one, the more local one, and the really local one. Since technology has transformed the way we receive news and information, the term “local” has obtained a new meaning.
Ten years ago, we considered local to be our neighborhood and the county we live in, usually nothing major happened in terms of local news. Today, local is thought to be the region of the state we live in, even more than one county which tends to get more news stories that just down the street from home. Ken Doctor expands on this topic in chapter three “Local: Remap and Reload” in his book Newsonomics. “That’s remapping in the basic way that local is being redefined. That’s reloading in the sense of understanding that while one battle has plainly been lost-that of keeping the local press intact as we knew it-another is ahead” (Doctor, 50). Local news organizations are suffering not only because “the Web lets us define ‘local’ any way we want” but also “the Internet has forced local media companies to redefine themselves” (Doctor 50-51). But this concern is not just affecting newspaper companies, it is also affecting radio stations. In 2005, it was proven that “more than 40% of radio stations do news for one or more stations outside their own market” (Hood).
While this battle for local, smaller papers to stay in business is on-going, “a few sites do stand out and are leaders at re-creating the next “local” – sites such as WashingtonPost.com, LaVegasSun.com, and more (Doctor, 55). Some smaller papers just cannot make enough money to print a paper daily and publish their stories online. Instead of completely shutting down, they have either cut back their printing to a few times a week, or just gone entirely online. They have also followed in bigger companies’ footsteps by advertising more and even taking their articles to Twitter just to get more noticed. “Twitter’s popularity has exploded in recent months, with news organizations and enterprises looking to the service as a source of unfiltered information about products, services, and global events” (Twitter is redefining communications).
Within a matter of years local journalism is going to be redefined even more, and the internet is going to continue to expand and take profit away from smaller newspaper companies. What we call “staying local” today, others would have called “regional” years before. Tomorrow, the term “local” could just be defined by opening your laptop and checking in across the world.
Hood, L. (2005). Redefining “Local” in Radio News: The Impact of Consolidation on Coverage. Conference Papers — International Communication Association, 1-26.
Doctor, Ken. (2010). Newsenomics: Twelve New Trends that Will Shape the News You Get.
Twitter is redefining communications. (2009). MarketWatch: Global Round-up, 8(8), 213-214.