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Journalism-Back to Basics

January 31, 2011

Filed under: Journalism,Management,Uncategorized — Tags: — admin @ 9:02 am

I’ve been thinking a lot about where journalism is headed and I think I found the answer this week. Meet Emilie Raguso, the Albany, CA editor of

Emilie Raguso is a collection of web-only news websites which is trying to focus on the kind of hyper-local news-gathering that has been the staple of community newspapers for the last 200 years. Give people news about what’s going on in their  schools, little league and community and they will actually support your product.

I’m proud to say that I’ve worked for a number of newspapers which were based on this remarkable theory and I know it works., which is owned by AOL, is just doing it without a printing press. You can read the New York Times take on the process but don’t be thrown off by the “looking-down their noses” attitude of the piece. The Times, like other large metros and many journalists, just can’t seem to grasp that people care more about what’s going on in their community than they do about the rest of the world.

I’ve been following the Albany site with some interest, even though it doesn’t cover the town where I live. I happened to meet Emilee at a local coffee shop.

I have to admit that I had lost faith that journalism would ever be the same with the internet, but as Emilie sat down – camera draped around her neck – and began talking about all the stories she was trying to cover and how much fun she was having, my hope was renewed.Her dedication to trying to cover meetings, plus doing features and working with freelancers, and being unbiased and getting reaction from the community was refreshing.

She’s only been on the job here for six months, but as we sat at a table outside the small restaurant, we overheard two women talking about a recent article, a man walked by with a tote bag and several folks stopped by to say hi. That is community journalism.

Maybe we are not all doomed to getting our news from left or right leaning blogs and there is still a place for the kind of  journalism I was taught –  way back when.

Let’s hope so. And I hope that there’s a site that c0vers your community. With any luck the folks at AOL won’t screw things up by trying to control each site from a central location. Only time will tell, but at least they’re off to a good start with Emilie.

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