Monday, May 21, 2007

More on the Mumbai-Pasadena connection

A southern California web-based news entity has hired reporters to cover Pasadena news - from India. That was described here 5/15. C.W. Nevius wrote about the outsourcing local journalism story in the 5/20 Chronicle.

...Macpherson's core idea, covering sleepy Pasadena "block by block," as he says, is one of the trendy new theories in modern journalism.

"In this community, the local newspaper had to cut back and has left a vacuum," Macpherson said. Pasadena Now, which he says attracted 45,000 unique readers last month in a community of 155,000 and is now in its third year, intends to fill that need.

He's not the only one. Rob Curley, a self-described "Internet nerd from Kansas," has pioneered a new "hyper-local" coverage that he's selling to major news organizations. Starting at small newspapers in Kansas, his approach has been such a hit that Curley is now setting up a model for the big, influential Washington Post.

Curley's theory is to "cover children's baseball games like they were the New York Yankees." Or, as his colleague at the Post, Levi Chronister, said Wednesday from Washington: "Don't try to out-CNN CNN. Give the community what they want."

Radical! Give the community what they want! Who woulda thunk it?

Strange to recall that Ronald Reagan, the quintessential small-town American, triggered the slow death of community radio with his deregulation. Lots of newspapers have committed suicide by aping USA Today. If you are a small local media outlet with a finite market, the more you cut out the one thing that makes you unique - local news coverage - the less relevant you become. Yes, you can expand your internet presence, but your core audience is still the small number of people in your town.

For my money, Pasadena Now is doing the right thing, prioritizing covering the local news. Readers won't care if the person writing the story is next door or on the moon, as long as they get to know what's going on where they live.






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