Local News + Emily Brown
Local news is many times regarded as less important, when compared to national news; that is clearly not accurate or true. Local news can sometimes have a bad rap attached to it, because it only reaches the people in its respective community. However, with news rooms trying to become digital, there is an opportunity to maintain the best aspects of local news and combine it with the ability to reach readers everywhere.
Newsrooms are shrinking at an alarming rate. According to the audio session from ONA on local news, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, at its biggest, had 450 journalists; it now has 250. Similarly, the Orlando Centennial had 350, at its biggest, and now has 100. The Philadelphia Inquirer had 600 journalists, and now has a mere 250.
Newsrooms are still predominately white and male, and following this, trust is at an all-time low. According to Emily Brown, it is the job of journalists to determine how far to stretch trust without breaking it; just because a source tells us something does not mean we have to run it.
According to the audio session, as journalists, listening is our superpower. Journalists should be very open and welcoming to the thought of listening to the people in the community. We should want to listen to others because we want others to listen to us; we should trust others because we want them to trust us.
One important point that was made during the panel discussion is that the internet has value but not values. The internet is one main reason that there is a lack of public trust; anyone can write anything and claim it is news. However, there is a positive side. The digital environment has allowed us to take stories that were very hyper-local and share them exponentially.
Another very important point that was brought up is that people who are financially able to, want to pay for others’ time and hard work. In the same manner that people purchase CDs and T-shirts from musicians, people want to hold copies of newspapers and magazines in their hands. People have a desire to support the things and the people they care about.
In order to try and connect the local media organization with the community, I would say trust is at the base. Trust needs to be earned, and one way to do it is to remember that anytime you’re talking about what you want to do outside the organization, you have to practice it inside the organization. I would also say that the most powerful form of engagement is the relationship or lifetime involvement with the community. It is essential to remember that journalism should be relational and not transactional.