Friday, December 12, 2008

Local Blogs Take The Stage

Cross-posted in the Zeno Group blog, Acropolis.

A few months ago, Los Angeles Magazine announced that downtown LA was named the “third bloggiest neighborhood” in the US. That’s a pretty cool claim to fame, if you ask me, but I have noticed that as local dailies die out, readers are turning to local blogs to get their news (or perhaps local dailies are dying out because people find more value in local blogs.)

Whatever the case, I moved to LA not too long ago and one of my favorite things about this city is the number of great local blogs. (I mean, West Linn, OR = cool, but newsworthy? Not so much, unless you count the occasional “a couple was caught being intimate on the baseball field” type stories – yes, that really was printed in the West Linn Tidings, and a friend of mine has the clipping hanging on her fridge if you’d like proof.) From LA Observed to LAist and a bunch of others, it is not hard to see why both print-affiliated and citizen journalists alike in LA are trading in their pens for Apples.

In fact, our dependence on local blogs has forced local dailies to hop on the blogging bandwagon as well, with most local papers having at least one (if not, several) affiliate blogs. This is smart for a number of different reasons:

  1. Local blogs are rapidly growing in both readership and sheer numbers;
  2. Blogs foster a two-way dialogue, whereas print publications are only one-sided;
  3. Blogs support the ‘eco-friendly’ direction our society is headed (aka, green is trendy);
  4. Blogs enable the 24-hour news cycle our now ‘always on’ society craves, especially during times of crisis (check out LA Now’s 24/7 coverage of the LA fires, for example);
  5. Blogs allow local dailies to push out their content in a variety of different ways (RSS, e-mail and Twitter, for example) instead of just via subscription.

A few weeks ago, Steve Rubel predicted that by 2014, we will see the end of tangible media as we know it. And that’s a modest prediction in comparison to MediaWeek, who foresees the fall of many local dailies by 2010. My first though was, “No way! Where would our credible news come from?!” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that, yeah, maybe tangible media will die out in theory, but the big (smart) dailies will never go away; they will simply switch their focus online.

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