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Newsies: How Local is Local?Follow

#1 Jul 06 2012 at 7:31 AM Rating: Good
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The NPR radio program This American Life did an episode called Switcheroo that explored people pretending to be people they're not.

One of the segments was delving into the workings of a company called Journatic. Journatic is a company that pulls together 'hyper'local news puts it into news article form and sells it to the newspaper. They report on things like Real estate transactions, HS/College sports scores and police blotters. Journatic uses help abroad (cheap labor). At one point some of their Asian reporters were using American sounding pen names in the by-lines.

Apparently much of the printed media world was unaware of this company or this type of service before the program aired. There's been some pretty pointed criticism since. Some of it merely aimed at the use of the fake names but most about Journatics practice in general.

Tim McGuire, the former editor-in-chief of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says, ....
Quote:
They are engaging in deception, and some would even call it fraud," McGuire says. "They are pretending they are producing local news with people who are not local. I think it's naive to think that local news is only about things that happen locally. I believe local news also has to be locally produced.


Does local news have to be not only about local events but written locally, by a local to be authentic?
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#2 Jul 06 2012 at 7:35 AM Rating: Good
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I've always thought of it simply as "news about your area". The source doesn't seem intrinsic to the definition, to me.
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#3 Jul 06 2012 at 7:41 AM Rating: Excellent
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I consider local news to be news about my local area. I've never worried about who is writing it although my local media market has enough decent journalists that it hasn't been an issue. I imagine your local newspaper already has local columnists and editorials anyway, I don't need some part time guy with a "Press" fedora covering the local plant closings for it to be legitimate.
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#4 Jul 06 2012 at 7:43 AM Rating: Good
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Most of the local news in my area tends to be covered by the entire country, if not the entire world, so I don't particularly care who writes it as long as it's somewhat accurate.
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#5 Jul 06 2012 at 9:17 AM Rating: Excellent
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Local News written by someone local has value to me if they are adding perspective you can only get through living there. I imagine there's a place for that, and that somethings you really can only write accurately about if you're from the area. Other things, like the fore-mentioned sports scores for example, seem like they could be written by a temp in working out of a basement in Bangkok without losing too much.

I can't watch the thingy at work, but am left wondering if anyone even noticed or cared prior to the thingy. If not it probably says something about the local journalism.
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#6 Jul 06 2012 at 11:17 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
Most of the local news in my area tends to be covered by the entire country, if not the entire world, so I don't particularly care who writes it as long as it's somewhat accurate.
That's about my take on it. I was kind of surprised that other media types found it distressing.

All news should be written from a detached locale to avoid local bias. The US journalists can cover Russia, Russian journalists can write about Australia, the Australians can cover India, India reports on Norway, Africa tells us about the UK and the Icelanders can run media for the US.
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#7 Jul 06 2012 at 1:20 PM Rating: Excellent
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Those ones, and the obvious ad filler stories are the ones that really annoy me. It is somewhat hilarious when a couple of the stations **** up and run that ame ad filler story on the same day and get caught, but even then, half the time no one reports on it when it does happen. Part of their argument is that newspapers and magazines do it too, so its ok. but it still annoys me. The few local stations that do practice some sort of journaliztic ethics are the ones with lower raitings, because they don't overblow and sensationalize everything, which says very unfortunate things about the local news consuming populace.
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#8 Jul 06 2012 at 2:13 PM Rating: Good
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I've never really cared about local news, though that is due to the fact that the local news station for my home town is a Fox station, and their news is pretty much on par with Fox's national news, in terms of tone. The other two reliable local news stations are in a slightly larger city a couple counties over, which is far enough out of the way that they don't cover much of anything that happens here, unless it's big and/or controversial. Besides, I live in flatland, flyover country. The only news-worthy events that happen in Illinois happen in Chicago, and no one in central or southern Illinois gives a flying **** about Chicago unless they did something that will affect the state laws. The bulk of our "exciting" news stories tend to relate to crops, drugs, Caterpillar, the Mitsubishi plant, or which small town got destroyed the worst by the last big Tornado.
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#9 Jul 06 2012 at 9:56 PM Rating: Decent
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I've always thought of it simply as "news about your area". The source doesn't seem intrinsic to the definition, to me.

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