Credit: Ebyline

In digital media, reporting from outside of newsrooms is commonplace and sometimes required. Thanks to consumer demand for consistent, on-the-go content, journalists now have the means and motivation to do so.

I think backpack journalism creates opportunities for good, high-quality content to become more of a norm in the media. It’s especially promising when combined with mobile storytelling vehicles.

But to me, this promise is diminished by a new expectation in the media to be spitting out stories at an almost 24/7 rate—even if this means sacrificing the quality of those stories.

We’ve already seen this play out.

Within the…

Credit: Creative Commons

As I said in my last post, I will be working on a semester-long project for my senior capstone course in the coming months.

My classmate/project partner and I decided to focus on outlandish businesses in our area for the project. We define these as: “Off-kilter businesses that do things that seem either unique to the area or out of place.”

Our action items for the semester include using mobile mediums to profile some of these businesses and find out why the owners chose to set up shop in the area.

Here’s how I think we can do that:

Creating the beat


Credit: Creative Commons

Niche media is all about context.

Take political news outlets, for example. What about publications that want to cover all facets of the beat, from education to immigration? Or what about those wanting to cover the specifics of one category, such as the business side of U.S. military arms and equipment?

I think there can be a happy medium between both these things.

In my Specialized Reporting class, the required capstone for my communication degree, I’m working with a partner to produce content under a business-focused beat.

Upon researching local businesses for story ideas, we found that there are several…

Credit: Pete O’Shea, via the Creative Commons license on Flickr

People like to feel connected to their interests. They reach a sense of belonging when they vibe with like-minded individuals and communities, on and offline.

This innate need is something journalism can fulfill through a new media market — niche publications. These are spaces where people can bask in whatever interests them, catering to everything from simple hobbies like knitting, fishing or rock-climbing to something broader like American politics or celebrity gossip.

Niche media markets have erupted in a busy time for journalism. This is an age where media is just as competitive as it is dynamic. And niche markets…

Shannon Cuthrell

Journalist & author, fueled by way too many cups of coffee.

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