Local news success story

The headline above is a direct quote from the body of a Monday, Aug. 16, 2010, blog posting by Pixel Creative Group Inc. titled, What now?  The headline is exciting for those who believe the future of journalism may rest in the hands of well-trained, well-motivated citizen journalists. However, the first half of the blog is a rather dour report on the increasing decrease of ad revenue for newspapers and other legacy media outlets.

(The blog does not have a specific author; the byline says it was written by the Project For Excellence In Journalism http://www.journalism.org/ which is a part of the Pew Research Center .) http://people-press.org/

The blogger asks all the right questions and examines some possible answers. He/she/it, the blogger, I mean, uses some interesting statistics and mentions a variety of sources that are all reliable and worthy of consideration.

Consider these three consecutive paragraphs:

“Newspapers, including online, saw ad revenue fall 26% during the year, which brings the total loss over the last three years to 41%.

“Local television ad revenue fell 24% in 2009, triple the decline the year before. Radio was off 18%. Magazine ad pages dropped 19%, network TV 7% (and news alone probably more). Online ad revenue over all fell about 5%, and revenue to news sites most likely also fared much worse. 

"Only cable news among the commercial news sectors did not suffer declining revenue last year.”

The author states that the search continues for a “sustaning revenue model” for online news ventures; then further defines the situation that the prospect for journalism remains uncertain given the fact that “79% of online news consumers say they rarely if ever have clicked on an online ad.”

What the “old media” is doing in light of the changing scene is also discussed. The blogger avers that most news organizations – new or old – “are becoming niche operations."

There is some good news in the blog. He/she/it (you know who I mean) mentions a variety of innovative ideas with a measure of hope for the future of journalism with quotes from Michael Schudson of Columbia University and Clay Shirky of NYU.

If you’re concerned about the future of journalism and how citizen jouranlism might fit into that future, give this well-written and informative blog a CLICK!

Dr. Ron Ross is the co-founder and Catalyst-in-chief of the National Association of Citizen Journalists and the co-author of “Handbook for Citizen Journalists.”