Hardly a day goes by without a new story about another struggling newspaper. The US has had it particularly bad recently, with the high-profile closure of the 150 year old Rocky Mountain News, and even the San Francisco Chronicle is struggling.
In the UK, things aren't much better. The Independent posted an article today highlighting the crisis in local news. It paints a pretty bleak picture. "Some 60 regional papers have closed in the last year. Guardian Media Group... has this week embarked on a bloodbath of job cutting, slashing 150 jobs in the North-west, and closing offices in Accrington, Ashton, Macclesfield, Oldham, Rochdale, Rossendale, Salford and Wilmslow. GMG, which publishes The Guardian national newspaper, also this week cut a further 95 jobs from its titles in Surrey and Berkshire, reducing its flagship paper for the region, the Reading Evening Post, from a five-day to a twice-weekly publication."
The future for printed local news looks pretty grim to say the least. But as that classic over-used (and probably totally inaccurate) Chinese proverb goes, in every crisis, there's great opportunity. And especially in how digital media can play a part in solving this problem.
The Guardian's Open Platform is certainly a step in the right direction, leading the way in making news data open to developers. There's also local aggregation services like Hophive. which makes local info easily available (if you happen to live in London that is).
But what happens to the art of newspaper journalism, and the stories from local courts, police and community parishes that were traditionally supplied by skilled, trained writers? Are we facing the end of local news as we used to know it?
We hope not, and have been working on a solution, using the ki work team building platform to help journalists easily build editorial teams. We welcome anyone interested to get in touch and get involved.