A functioning local news ecosystem, one that has mechanisms to ask tough questions and serve as a hub of a common set of facts for a region, seems to have some straightforward ingredients.
What traditionally drove a functioning modern news ecosystem (20th century)
- PROFITABLE – Funding mechanism (advertising)
- AUDIENCE – Mass dissemination tool (front page or TV news top)
- COMPETITIVE – Connected network of reporters (newsroom) and competing mass audiences
- IMPACT – Investigative journalism (ideological and financial subsidy)
- DEPTH – Robust, focused news coverage (niche newspaper beat reporting)
What this might look like in the near future (and in some ways now)
- PROFITABLE – Funding mechanism (patchwork of profitable sites, technologies, new orgs with journalism DNA and more focused legacy, philanthropic outlets)
- AUDIENCE – Mass dissemination tool (top-level aggregation, applications) to service fractured landscape made up of far smaller, much deeper niche communities
- COLLABORATIVE – Connected network of reporters (news coworking), link building, partnership-driven, fewer big players, more smaller oens
- IMPACT – Investigative journalism (new nonprofit organizations, journalism DNA), bigger audience for community-focused efforts
- DEPTH – Robust, focused news coverage (crowd sourcing, social media, niche blogs and indie sites)
So looking at your market, what is lacking? Set about serving that role.