Thursday, August 28, 2008

Small town journalism, etc

This is interesting - Sharon Dunwoody explains and compares small vs. large community newspaper coverage of the same story.

I think in the past I have been rather naive.

( Note to fellow techno-luddites: the cognoscenti would put a mini-post like this into a TumbleLog on their sidebar, or just tag it with )

But since this is growing into more than a mini-post, something else I've been meaning to put up:

Someone recently asked my thoughts on "the strange bedfellows that are being created to promote blogging vs. MSM"; I answered:

In brief, to the extent it's a "vs.": it's exactly akin to the strange bedfellows (students and imams) that joined together to overthrow the Shah of Iran.

It didn't turn out so well for the students.

The trick is to avoid the "vs.", to create a chimaera that takes advantage of the strengths of both. This would require trust - and more importantly, behavior to earn that trust - from both.

(I believe we were both using "bloggers" as shorthand for "people who aren't journalists by training, who have blogs and may do some citizen journalism [and who criticize newspaper coverage...]")


SkiTheStars said...

Let me guess, The Union is in a community where the power bases are small and not distributed, and therefore stories like the mine get the reduced coverage and "upgrading" of unpleasant inconvenient facts?

Seems likely....

Anna Haynes said...

The current (as of yesterday, at least) issue of the Mountain Messenger (in Downieville, in Sierra County, up the road another 40min or so on N. fork of the Yuba, for you visitors) has a piece taking aim at The Union's journalism - apparently they didn't much appreciate The Union covering their (Sierra County's) DA getting into a bar fight.

It's a rather fine piece of writing, being the MM; alas they're not online dammit, so I think one of us is going to have to transcribe it. Any chance you could do this, Keachie?

It seems to me the Mountain Messenger ought to return the favor, and (un)cover Nevada County.

Then The Union could retaliate by digging up more Sierra County dirt, and it could escalate from there, and the 2 counties would benefit enormously. To say nothing of the entertainment value...newspaper sales would skyrocket.

Anna Haynes said...

I should clarify (now having finished reading it), the Mountain Messenger piece disputes the news, quoting its DA as saying "there was no fight" and saying others present corroborated this. It also reports "the alleged venue of the anonymously reported fight has video equipment which oversees the premises".

It might reward someone's time to contact the St. Charles and ask to see the video for that night.
(for all I know, someone at The Union might already have done this...)