May 27, 2008

Friedersdorf on local newspapers

Conor Friedersdorf, a former reporter at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and Pomona College graduate, has an internship at The Atlantic magazine. While regular contributor Megan McArdle is away, he and a few others haven taken over posting on her blog, Asymmetrical Information.

Friedersdorf, an emerging conservative voice in the mediaverse, uses the opportunity to lament the decline of watchdog journalism at the local level and consider whether bloggers can pick up the slack:

I understand that there are hyper-local blogs run by gadflies who can cover some of this stuff. But the institutional support of a newspaper, while not technically necessary for local coverage to thrive, is nevertheless very important. A financially healthy newspaper has some institutional memory, so that when the lone hyper-local blogger goes on vacation, or moves to a new neighborhood, or gets paid off by the local developer, someone is there to continue important coverage.

A healthy newspaper has an attorney on retainer so that when a powerful local threatens a frivolous liable (sic) suit if a controversial story runs, the story gets run -- I've known local news bloggers who uniformly didn't publish such stories when confronted, though they were in the right, because who wants to get sued over their blogging hobby?

7 comments:

Mike Rappaport said...

There are those like my good friend Gordon Campbell who believe that within a few years it will be all about the bloggers.

The problem is, and I blog myself, there's no accountability there. I'm sure I blog differently with 30 years of journalism experience than someone who has never been edited.

There will always be a place for local newspapers, but will there always BE local papers?

Not if the Dean Singletons of the world have their say.

Anonymous said...

Who blogs better?
someone with 30 years paper journalism experience and who after 30 years began to put some interest online? or someone with some editing/journalism experience but with lots of online expertise?

todd said...

Online expertise? What the hell is that? Typing with one hand?

Jay said...

Oh my god. Typing with one hand. That's freaking hilarious. I ask as well: What is online expertise? The ability to parrot what all the other bloggers are saying? Maybe online expertise refers to the ability to overestimate one's effective reach without any reflection upon the number of readers one has. Just because you're blogging doesn't mean anyone's reading it.

Anonymous said...

Rappy,

I reiterate the comments I made about you in the most recent post regarding Conor F.

You got fired. So what? You weren't the only one. Build a bridge and get over it. Your whining is getting really old and really boring. I know you call yourself a blogger but I am not sure anyone actually reads your blog, may be that's why you make certain you insert yourself into every comments section of this blog which people actually do read.

Anonymous said...

Todd and jay, yeah continue laughing.
Online is one of the main reasons many of you were fired and are now here whining.

Some that stayed are finally trying to jump on the Online bandwagon, but...
....will they succeed? I doubt it.

Anonymous said...
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