9. Toughest crisis in media
The economic strains on local news have forced outlets to close, shutter print editions and consolidate into major holding groups, Axios media trends reporter Sara Fischer writes in "The crisis in local news":
- Why it matters: "As long as [cuts to local news] continues, the people in power will get away with murder," veteran NYC TV journalist Errol Louis told CNN's Brian Stelter on Sunday.
- Local media continues to have a complicated relationship with technology, because while technology can be blamed for upended news economics, local media companies still rely on it for traffic and resources.
- A few local media leaders have indicated that relationships with Google and Facebook are improving. "They've spent an inordinate amount of time with us," says Matt DeRienzo, executive director of Local Independent Online News Publisher.
- The economic problem, according to Patch CEO Warren St. John, is that local news shouldn't be designed to serve national or scaled interests.
Be smart: I come out of local news: I covered a couple of rural counties for the then-evening paper in Fredericksburg, Va., and spent 10 years at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, including working night-police beat. I covered Arlington and Alexandria local governments for the Virginia desk of The Washington Post, and covered City Hall and Hartford for The New York Times. And I don't see a happy ending to this one.
- People want their local news for free, or will just skip it. So a newspaper without the cachet and footprint of the N.Y. Times., WashPost, Wall Street Journal or Financial Times can't get enough digital subscription revenue to pay for robust reporting.
- Local digital ads come nowhere near replacing the fat years of big food and classified sections — pennies vs. dollars.
- We'll continue to watch innovative local-news experiments, including foundation funding and NPR-style reader donations, and will let you know what's working.
P.S. 🧀 exclusive from Sara Fischer: "Cheddar is joining forces with WeWork to scale its on-air guest booking operation. It's building remote studios in WeWork offices around the country, and eventually around the globe, to bring more TV-quality live shots to the network's weekday live programming slate. The Cheddar team will go live with its first daily broadcast from a WeWork location today in Hollywood."