Thursday, July 19, 2012

Value of ‘buy local’ journalism in action

Kevin N. Hume reads to elementary school students
Lake County Record-Bee Staff reporter Kevin N. Hume reads during a
children’s summer program at Kelseyville Elementary School.
Photo by Denise Crawford
 Record-Bee staff reporter Kevin N. Hume made a guest appearance yesterday at a children’s summer reading program. I think it illustrates the value of  “reading local” that journalist Mandy Jenkins recently blogged about.

Jenkins is digital projects editor for Digital First Media.

In her recent blog entry, Jenkins cites a story, broadcast by This American Life, about the “hyperlocal news company” Journatic, which uses a “largely foreign workforce to assemble local data, rewrite press releases and parrot online obituaries for eventual publication on local and hyperlocal news sites from likes of the Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle and Newsday.” She suggests that as outsourced news grows, local newsrooms should promote buying (and reading) local.

The role of outsourcing in journalism was also explored this week during the weekly #DFMChat among Digital First Media journalists.

I posted a response to Jenkins’ piece that summarizes her recommendations for engaging with the community: sharing observations on social media, writing or contributing to a blog, holding live chats with readers and meeting readers in person. An in-person appearance like Hume’s certainly advances that aim.

As Jenkins states:
“‘Buying American’ and ‘Shopping Local’ have become a priority to some American consumers on goods from clothes to veggies – so why not newspapers? We should encourage our readers to ‘Read Local’.
“For local journalists, there is no better time to show our readers that we are them. We live in the same neighborhoods. We shop at the same grocery stores. We attend the same local festivals and root for the same football teams. Our kids attend the same schools. We may have even gone to high school together.”
Jenkins’ complete post can be viewed at ZombieJournalism.com. I also created a Pinterest board that shows Record-Bee employees engaging with their community.

Published July 31, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

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