Thursday, June 23, 2011

Do You Have Time for Local News?

By: Scott Stein, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
I came across an interesting article just the other day on the website Mediaite, which describes itself as the site for news, information and smart opinions about print, online and broadcast media. Columnist Philip Bump posed the question…“Where does local news fit if national and social media take up all your time?” As a recovering local news junkie (20+ years as a radio and newspaper reporter in La Crosse and Green Bay) I was intrigued.


Bump quickly points that “once upon a time there were two main ways that people learned about what was happening in the world; newspapers and the six o’clock news.” (I’ll forgive Mr. Bump for ignoring the important role the radio news used to play. Of course, while I was working in radio news I was far less forgiving of those who didn’t realize how much information came via radio.)

His point, however, is that we now have so many other sources for learning what is happing around us and around the world. Bump writes…“people can get any information they want on anything at any time. They can follow a thousand different Twitter accounts and have five hundred Facebook friends and Flipbook their way to the things that interest them. The odds that the City Council’s negotiations on a sewer contract makes the cut are small.”

Yes, I am among the legions of fans of Twitter and Facebook and do get a lot of information that way, including local news from the myriad of reporters tweeting and posting on social media (although it can be frustrating wading through all the drivel that is posted as I search for some real news.) While I do find some news via social media, it’s just not right if I don’t start my morning with a newspaper in my hand and close my day flipping among the local TV newscasts.

The bottom line is that I want to know what the city council and county board and other local governments are up to. These are the folks that are making the decisions that most directly impact my life. I, personally, don’t want to reach that day when I don’t have time for local news.

How about you? Is local news important to you? Has the shift in how we get news had an impact on what news you pay attention to?
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