Update: Here is a recent story in the Associated Press about the closure of a community newspaper in a rural part of the United States. ‘Even though philanthropists and politicians have been paying more attention to the issue, the factors that drove the collapse of the industry’s advertising model haven’t changed. Encouraging growth in the digital-only news sector in recent years hasn’t been enough to compensate for the overall trends, said Penelope Muse Abernathy, visiting professor at Medill and the report’s principal author. Many of the digital-only sites are focused on single issues and are clustered in or close to big cities near the philanthropic money that provides much of their funding, the report said.’
Reading this article reminds me of one of the conversations I had to make the issue of S P A C E , ‘Publishing through the Decades.’ I also recall my own experience living in a rural place, southwest Ireland’s West Cork. There, too, the paper that I worked for earned its meaning because people cared about it, where we lived. This care extended to real life space, as peopel could talk about what they were reading. I feel like this was so valuable, and more face-to-face interaction is what I miss. Even if I enjoy niche blogs and feeling part of a global audience, like this site aims to architect a space for, I feel strongly about local journalism and community newspapers. So, I will keep this conversation going, in S P A C E. Be a part of it.
Original post is below.
Could we be seeing a return to community and local newspaper reporting?
Reading the news, I learned that there was a nonprofit that bought newspapers in Maine so that they wouldn’t all be owned by one person.
And, I saw that my hometown paper had covered a story about citizen journalism, at this link.
When local newspapers, particularly dailies, are shuttered or stripped of staff, routine political coverage and insightful commentary fall by the wayside. Power goes unchecked and community voices go unheard… One person working to aggregate Durham’s marketplace of ideas is Kenneth Webb, who in 2019 founded what could be seen as another citizen journalism initiative in Durham: a Facebook page called Bull City Political Nerd… The page, which has nearly 2,000 followers, raises awareness and fosters productive discussion around important local issues, Webb says,’ Geller writes. ‘While social media, and the internet as a whole, have wreaked havoc on the business models of traditional local publications, Kenney says there’s a benefit to technology “forcing a way of rethinking” our media institutions. “I don’t feed into the idea that local journalism is a dying thing,” he says. “I think that it’s actually adapting to the change.”’
Who owns the media, now?
News. Media. Publishing. And how things have changed, and continue to change, are all topics that I’ve been batting about here with a handful of people I know (and some I have been meeting online), to discuss, ‘Publishing through the Decades.’ It’s an issue of S P A C E coming out, soon.
This is really fun for me, since I love community newspapers, and writing, and sharing stories. I’ve been working in small papers or sending columns to them, and periodicals that have a circulation that isn’t giant is where I like to hang out. Personally. This site is an example. I keep changing things here, but it’s not because I want to gain traction and ‘followers’. I don’t know what I think about social media, most of the time I feel like when I go there I am reminded of high school parties before the age of 15 when you would feel like everyone was pretending to be someone else and worried as anything that they’d be laughed at, so they overcompensated by being… mean. This isn’t where I want to hang out.
Care to comment?
If you are interested in writing or sharing your ideas about how media is changing or has changed, wherever you are in the world, do feel free to get in touch on email. Email is best for me.
To be continued.
More about S P A C E is at ‘Zines: Artifacts of Connection.’ Read that post, here.
Update: August 2023