When Facebook announced it will prioritize local news stories in news feeds, it shed light on the necessity of saving local news. In fact, the New York Times article, “A Crazy Idea For Funding Local News: Charge People For It” says charging readers may be a way of doing just that.
How you ask? A monthly subscription.
Online subscriptions have been on the rise for quite the time now and show no sign of letting up with Netflix, Hulu, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, MoviePass, Patreon and the most recently added Hooch- an app where you pay $1 a month for a free drink a day- etc. All of these monthly subscriptions brings on the possibility of having a local news service, ad free, for a low price.
A decent price for this service would be $5 because many people who would be paying for this service, would already be paying for one or two of the services listed above as well, and making it $10 would scare people away as opposed to reeling people in. With users paying $5 a month that should be a way to cover things such making the app/ website ad-free which would make the service even more user friendly.
As pointed out in the article, a good way to do this would be to hire some very good journalists, send them out into a large metropolitan area and have them cover things that no one else is covering. However, many entrepreneurs don’t want to join in on the subscription pattern because, “Local markets by definition are small, and journalism is expensive.”
In order for this to work, it would need to be hard-hitting, local/ community news. As the article pointed out, it’s not necessary to report on big events such as The Super Bowl, movie reviews, market analysis, etc.
In order for people to pay a subscription for local news, they need simply local news or else they can get big news coverage from a national news organization such as CNN, MSNBC, etc. It needs to be hard-hitting local news coverage, constantly, that way there will be a want or even better a need for it daily, from it’s readers. One way to make sure this service could grown and be effective is to make sure that it’s a national app that way depending on what area people are in, they can just log onto the app and it will show what’s going on in the area surrounding them, which is beneficial because people who are traveling per say may want to see what’s happening in the are they’re visiting.
However, when inventing a service like this, it is important to Define Your Target Market. There are different ways to go about targeting who you want to market to but you want to make sure that you aren’t too general and also that you realize that just because you aren’t including a certain demographic that doesn’t mean that you’re excluding them altogether.
Many different things go into perspective when defining your target such as: looking at your customer base (audience), check out your competition, analyze your product/ service, choose specific demographics to target, considering the psychographics of your target and evaluation your decision. While analyzing each of these different categories it’s important to realize that these perspectives can either help your service/ business sink or swim. However, I also feel as though people look at each of these differently in terms of which is more important with helping your service/ business.
The reason it’s worth it fighting to save local news is because as stated in the previously cited New York Times article: “People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference,” which is really what life is all about at the end of the day, loving/ caring and helping out others.
One thought on “The Fight to Save Local News”
I can see here that you’re point is to minimize the competition therefore the only way people get your product is from you so you can charge for it. Saying that local papers should cover just local news and things others are not covering makes it a particular set of journalism with a built in audience, that community. My question is, if the town or community is small will charging still be able to fund the local news? How narrow should the reporting be? What is too narrow?
These are some great points and they bring up questions that local stations are now having to think about and answer.