Outsource To Your Readers

I read Maureen Dowd’s piece yesterday on a website that is covering local news in Pasadena California using stringers in India and I thought the whole idea was really nutty. How is it possible that people living half way across the world could know much about what’s going on in my neighborhood?

As Mark Josephson, CEO of our portfolio company, Outside.in, said in his post on the topic yesterday:

But why is everyone focused on trying to make the old model of
newspapers and reporting survive as opposed to innovating and embracing
new forms of news, like participatory journalism or hyperlocal bloggers?

The unfortunate events in Mumbai showed that witnesses can be a
great source of news.  And, you don’t have to look any further than our
weekly Blogiology 101 posts to see that there is incredible coverage
happening at the hyperlocal level.

These are new forms of news gathering and they cost a heck of a lot
less than even offshore operations.  News organizations should embrace
their community of readers to find new ways to help cover their news.
Use your brand, traffic and salesforce to drive traffic and revenue to
new groups of people who are already writing about their own
communities.  Hey, they already live there and actually really care
about it too!

I am convinced that the future of local news is on the web, not on paper, and I am equally convinced it will be written largely by the people who are making the news or experiencing the news first hand and not by traditional journalists or their replacements somewhere where cheaper labor can be found.