How to do local journalism

These days there’s a lot of attention being paid to the decline of the newspaper business. Hundreds (if not thousands) of articles have been written about it with that tired “objective” journalism perspective and they usually all sound the same and almost never offer up inspiring ideas about what to actually do about the problem. But every once in awhile someone just slightly outside of the game materializes with an absolutely brilliant take, as is the case with this rant on how newspapers could really make local coverage work for them.

From the article:

I’d hate to be a newspaper editor today, but if I were. . .

Instead of spending time bemoaning how my owners are going to kill my paper, I’d make real sure that the people on my staff were covering news relevant to the communities where subscribers live.

I’d fire a third of the editors and convert another third of them to being reporters and give them a laptop. I’d send all my reporters home with a laptop. I would tell each of them his beat is now a circle with a radius of 12 blocks and the center of the circle is his house. I want to know everything that happens within those 12 blocks.

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