The Convergence Point

Because Story is independent of medium

One Thing

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Readers pick up a copy of the local paper and check the local newspaper’s website because both are local.

No one else covers what the local press does. Statewide networks really don’t care (often with good reason) about the local Selectmen or City Council meetings. They’re dealing with Beacon Hill or Capitol Hill. The specific mechanics of power within cities and towns don’t mean much to the statewide audience.

They mean something to the city audience though, and that’s where the local news-organization shines. That’s our ballpark, for lack of a better term. We don’t play at Gillette, we play at Newell Stadium.

We shouldn’t try to play out of our league, or play other teams’ games. So, why are we printing Beacon Hill news when our audience wants city hall? When we run Associated Press, or statewide content, we’re reaching people for the AP or metro dailies, not for our local cities and towns.

Most of our inside pages run with news from the AP or from other dailies owned by the same company. We could eliminate those pages, and possibly some printing cost, by keeping our news local, rather than trying to fill pages with content.

If readers want to find Newburyport news, they’ll check the Newburyport Daily News Web Site. If they want national level news, they’ll check the Post, or the Times.

Our era marks the era bereft of gatekeepers. For those in Gloucester, the Daily Times isn’t their only source for news. The web lets readers pull stories from more networks than I care to, or can, count. Now, instead of reading news from a sole source, they grab specific pieces of news from specific sources. For Gloucester, their city news comes from the GDT. The national news could come from anywhere.

Local papers need to stand out for covering local matters. Because no-one else does. That’s not to say we should get rid of AP content entirely. Relegating it, and other wire services to a select tab on the website would keep it availabe for readers that do get national level news from the local press, and stop cluttering  pages for those that don’t.

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Written by Steven A. Fletcher

April 29, 2011 at 8:15 pm

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