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September 03, 2009



you may want to check out this site: www.rakedin.com, very serious project

stephen cunningham

Very astute observations. We have been working with local media for the last couple of years, and those still working in newspapers are there only because the water looks cold and the lifeboats look crowded. Thanks for crystallizing a painful reality that needs to be addressed. I think you are right that subject matter expertise will be a differentiator, and it will take a lot of hard devoted effort by reporters who have been able to feed themselves working forumulaically (sp?) for the last 20 years. So, in sum - remain optimistic about the appetite for local content, but skeptical about the existing models.

Bob Wyman

You wrote: "The 'reporter' must now be a participant-observer in the community of interest."
Reading this, I couldn't help but think of the issues swirling around Pogues's recent problems with supposed conflicts of interest. Certainly, if he downplayed Snow Leopard issues in order to curry favor with Apple, that is a problem. However, it is ridiculous to suggest, as many have, that the mere fact that he writes books about the products he reviews makes him unsuited to write for a newspaper. Pogue is *very* much a participant in the communities that he serves and, I think, should be considered a model for such reporting. In addition to the fact that his non-NYT activities strengthen his domain knowlege, he should also be commended for finding alternative means to monetize his knowledge and position. The newspapers lived too long in a world where just printing the news was enough. In the new world, they should see that there are dozens of ways to monetize the knowledge and expertise of their journalists. Books, conferences, premium-priced specialist newsletters, speaking tours, etc. The papers should explore and exhaust all these other means to monetize and strengthen their ties to the community.

bob wyman

[Bob - I'll grant that perceptions of favoritism or even conflict are inherent in becoming a community participant. On the other hand, few believe the disinterested and unbiased reporter's pose any more. It's a lot simpler to just wear your heart on your sleeve, i.e., disclosure, either explicit or by making point of view obvious. -- T.O.]

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