Cue the public

From Seth today:

I am not making up this headline: Tonight at 11, news by neighbors – Santa Rosa TV station fires news staff, to ask local folks to provide programming

“I have my own silly little term,” Spendlove said. “Local content harvesting.”

A true moment not to be in the process of hydration, for fear of ruining a keyboard.

We only have to look at Tailrank to see how biased our coverage of any one topic is: not to mention how poorly local events are covered. I know of only two weblogs that write on the issues with Nixon, Blunt, Ameren, and the DNR here in Missouri and that’s me and Black River News and I’m dependent on Black River News and regular news outlets for most of what I write. Black River News provides much of the local commentary and color, but we’re both dependent on news organizations to get the interviews, to hunt down the details. It is precisely these ‘smaller’ stories that we’re dependent on professional news organizations to cover, and it is these smaller stories that webloggers don’t tend to get interested in because there’s a lack of immediate sensationalism to many of the topics.

Then there’s the practical side to journalism: I can’t request an interview with Nixon, but the journalists at St. Louis Today can.

As for putting us to work so that stations and newspapers don’t have to pay for the professionals, I don’t feel like going down to Wal-Mart to fill in when Betty or Joe is fired, so why should I feel privileged to replace Betty or Joe at St. Louis Today? That’s the way to think of this: not as a ‘chance’ to get our 15 minutes, or a way of validating worth for people who are never satisfied; but how we’re being used to increase corporate profits while more workers are displaced. Working for virtual tips.

A hybrid solution has always seemed to me the way to go: provide an outlet for the locals, but keep the professionals working. That’s what we have: we have weblogs and newspapers; we have comment forums and TV or radio. We have cellphone pictures mixed in with photo journalism that changes the world.

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