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July 15, 2007


Russ Carr

Russ Carr (St. Louis, MO) replied to your post
8 hours ago
I would argue that your first question is the wrong question to be asking of journalists; it's a question that needs to be asked of the communities that our media serve.

But the question can be turned around -- and those same communities would do well to ask it:

How can journalism support the community at a time when traditional media has been commoditized by corporations into a profit-or-perish line-item?

Colin's conclusion is an astute one: journalism will evolve to meet the changing needs of the citizenry. In this case, however, its evolution may come by regressing to a more parochial model. The measure of a newspaper's success (beyond pure economics) may not be how broad or far-reaching its coverage is, but how thoroughly and richly it covers its own backyard. I worked at a couple of weeklies several years ago, and yeah, we were hardly printing money. But we kept 20 people employed full time. We provided a forum for the people of the towns we served. Businesses pumped us with advertising revenue, and in return we pumped customers into their stores and offices. And those two weeklies continue to churn along, providing local coverage that is unmatched by the Major Metropolitan Daily that tries so hard to deliver the world that it fails to see what's going on only a few miles away.

So how does the community support journalism at a time when traditional newspaper-generated revenue is drying up? It starts when the journalists start supporting their community. Provide for them, and they'll provide for you.

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