Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Online publisher in Wyo. explains how local, online journalism can link local, national news

Innovations like the Internet, social media and mobile devices have changed how we interact with the news, and have posed challenges to traditional news organizations. These changes have prompted experts to consider how news coverage can be improved. "Local public television outlets blanch at asking about money in politics," Anne MacKinnon writes for the Brookings Institution. "Even in the old days, some papers considered news a personal indulgence that hurt fat profit margins. . . . Now big margins have disappeared, and new owners resist news."

MacKinnon moved to Wyoming in 1979 to follow the coal industry from Appalachia and became the editor of the Casper Star-Tribune. Twelve years later, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation helped her create WyoFile, a non-profit new site that relies on three staff writers, reader donations and grants. The articles can be read on almost any device and can be republished for free.

"At news sites like WyoFile, reporters and editors still believe people can decide their own fate, and even the fate of the nation, given good information," MacKinnon writes. "The U.S. needs encounters between the local and the national, fed by local and national reporting on real local and national issues. . . . Local, passionate journalism matters. WyoFile’s metrics show swaths of readers living in New York and D.C. The word can get out. People can see what's happening. They can take action."(Read more)

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