Local news for local people

It’s good to see it’s not all doom and gloom at the UK’s regional papers. I enjoyed Jon Clements post about the way the 140 year old Manchester Evening News is integrating print, online and broadcast. Jon quoted Assistant News Editor, Paul Gallagher, explaining that the breadth of options gives them and their audience more choice and quality, as “decisions on news are very much based on its suitability for the medium“. Although good co-ordination is needed – “the paper tends to time the release of online news with the hard copy, so not to compete with itself.” . The delicate balance of timings required within an integrated sell-in, to optimise press and broadcast needs is something we’re well familiar with!

The variety of sources used by MEN journalists is also great. From memorial sites on social networks to mobile videos – something that is going to become ever more prevalent in the next year. The likes of Qik and Kyte allowing instant street-to-web streaming are going to speed up the news cycle even more. It reminded me of the recent post by fellow-PR Wadds, where he became a citizen journalist of his local flooding. As well as conversations I’ve had with Gary Andrews around the way Twitter can and is used by journalists to contact people live-twittering events for quotes, information and images. Gary’s post on The Chicago Tribune’s usage is a great example, as have been the recent hurricanes.

There are slip-ups to be made in this process, I think most people agreed that the Twittering of a funeral last week was in bad taste. But generally it’s great to see the way technology is allowing regional news to be reinvigorated and genuinely interact with their audience – potentially moving towards offering a sense of community hubbed online, that many of us have lost in our neighbourhoods.

First posted on Shiny Red.

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