There was a time when “local” and “sustainable” were most often seen together as buzzwords for ethical vegetables; lately, these virtues are just as likely to be paired in conversations about digital news platforms.
Local news is experiencing both crisis and renaissance: as industry upheaval continues to swallow up metropolitan and regional newspapers (a site called Newspaper Death Watch sprouted up in 2007 to track the North American casualties), some of the journalists being turned into the streets are putting their ear to the asphalt, listening carefully, and participating in the online reincarnation of neighbourhood reporting.
Today’s column by the Guardian’s Roy Greesnslade, headlined “Local news crisis: look what journalists who know their patch can achieve,” offers an excerpt from a book by political correspondent Les Reid (What do we mean by Local?), in which Reid celebrates the community value of local coverage. He emphasizes local reporters’ abilities to scrutinize their politicians from close-up, and points to the opportunities offered by the Internet in terms of information-gathering, publishing space, and live coverage.