Savannah Swix

The Future of Local Media: What Works and a Few Reminders

By Savannah Swix

One of the biggest concepts surrounding startup companies and big, unique ideas that we have covered so far in class has been risk. There’s so many unknowns and uncertainties involved when you put all of what you have – financially and physically, and in terms of energy – into your project and intend to see it through to success.

Bernard Goldbach.  Creative Commons.

Paul Graham talked about risk in his article, “How to Get Startup Ideas”, that we read a few weeks ago. He explained the different factors that play into achieving your goals and creating a product that people will love and need. For example, putting together a great, creative and innovative team as well as collecting the necessary funds to determine the next step in the process.

In Chapter 2 of the article “A Roadmap for Digital Media Startups: Business Models and Best Practices for Local and Community Journalists” by Jennifer McFadden, she discusses the rates of success for different independent news and niche sites that have been started by entrepreneurs with experience in journalism or with specific topics like business, lifestyle, real estate and more.

I was intrigued by her explanation of the struggle that non-profit sites go through in comparison to others. She detailed non-profits’ difficulty with coordinating to receive steady funding from different foundations and their prioritizing advertising as highly important to a site’s stability. She also talked about how hard the work can be, especially in smaller markets, for not only non-profits but all startups created by passionate people who saw a need to be filled. I find it inspiring and humbling to read about these different people – like married couples who became partners in the professional world – who found ways to contribute to their communities through initiating news-sharing possibilities for their local areas.

“Newsonomics: Rebuilding the news media will require doubling-down on its core values” by Ken Doctor highlights the changing ways of journalism and how the current political climate and more circumstances of our modern world are some of the reasons for the shift. He also says that fewer people are turning to newspapers for the latest news yet the desire to be in-the-know when it comes to daily events persists.

Doctor talked a bit about Donald Trump and how his presidency will (and has) affected working journalists in the industry, in addition to the field as a whole. He recommends a few things for journalists to do, including to “seem as large as you can” (Doctor 7). In this time, it’s important for the press and the media to stand strong and show the public that this presidency doesn’t have to change the job that they know and love. I think we have seen some of this during recent weeks, where reporters and media personnel are pushing back a little in order to get the facts they need and share the stories that they believe need to be made aware to the public. I think this is only the beginning of more opposition to come.

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