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Cash needs to flow for journalism to work

October 12, 2009

The Guardian is taking its digital strategy hyper-local, by launching a number of local news trials, starting in Leeds, Cardiff and Edinburgh.  Written by bloggers – preferably with journalistic training (so, soon-to-be-out-of-work journalists then) – it intends to deliver local news via its blogging platform.

Hyper-local news in Edinburgh might be of more interest to the world beyond the city

Hyper-local news in Edinburgh might be of more interest to the world beyond the city

While this is a sound idea, and is worth testing to see if it can be run sustainably, it does look like the Graun has missed an opportunity to put its money where it’s mouth is.  The job description fails to mention pay at all, and leans towards people with traditional journalistic skills, rather than a new generation of video bloggers who could really disrupt local news gathering and delivery.

The main purpose of the new news service is to scrutinise local politics and report on community news that will be of interest to the local community itself.  The advantage of the digital platform is that stories can filter up to regional or national levels when merited.  But it all rests on the newspaper taking a confident approach to resourcing the service.

Subscription or advertising-funded, the success of the service rests in the confidence of those paying for it.  Go on, The Guardian, pay a proper wage, find exciting young bloggers, and convince people that local news can be interesting.

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