In Response to “Report For America”
Heartily agreed on these solutions with two caveats:
First, all stipends should be for $40,000. The news ecosystem desperately needs full-time professional journalists. This, from the FCC’s 2011 report, “The Information Needs of Communities“:
If a community does not have a critical mass of full-time professional journalists, it will not harness the benefits of this new system. Indeed, it will be worse off than it has been in years. Full-time journalists are not just useful parts of this new machine — they are essential components. The digital media innovations — citizen journalism, crowd-sourcing, public databases, blogs, social media — are not ancillary. They are at the heart of the new system. Without both, a community will not get the information it needs. With both, it can thrive as never before.
Second, the present invisibility of local news has as much to do with scale of large news sites (which dominate Facebook feeds). No matter how much local reporting is improved, visibility on mobile platforms will require far greater partnering between smaller news organizations. (See Matthew Hindeman’s “Stickier News.”)