The MSM is full these days of stories of the demise of the MSM. Having argued continuously for limits in the ownership of news organizations I feel that a lot of these failings can be laid at the feet of the consolidators. As in most of the rest of the financial meltdown, most of these can be laid to greed in the executive suites. Greed that continues to be blamed on the shareholders…even when the shareholders will in the end be the only ones to lose.
Reading Doug’s Blue Ridge Muse this morning led me to the following…
The first element in a good story idea is a compelling question. And that doesn’t mean complicated. In fact, the simpler, the better. Often great stories spring from questions that begin with a simple phrase: “I wonder…” As in “I wonder why there are bulldozers sitting beside that empty field that used to be a softball diamond?” Or, “I wonder who that man having lunch with the mayor is?” Or, “I wonder where the best school in my town is located?” And you’ll notice that behind each of these questions is one of the six basic news questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
Doug Thompson, who runs Blue Ridge Muse in his hometown of Floyd, Va., a rural community about 40 miles southeast of Roanoke, says most of his ideas “come the way most good stories come, by observing what’s going on in the community and by listening to people.”
KCNN: Great ideas keep readers coming back.
So now we have a blue-print for a way to reinvigorate local news…Take it back to the individual publisher and loose the newsprint. Will it be a money maker? Probably not…But then again, the local publisher back in the day had to print more than the news to make ends meet.
As Doug puts it…
As he explains, “I eat breakfast two or three times a week at the local restaurant, which is the gathering spot for a lot of local people…I try to hit the coffee shops at least once a day and listen to what people are saying…”
Now not all of us have the advantage that Doug has…His office is steps away from the Blue Ridge Restaurant, the local cafe, and just across the street from the court house. The coffe shop is just around the corner. So “cafe journalism” is a way of life in Floyd.
There is a lot a blogger can learn from the pointers on KCNN, even when you aren’t neccesarily a news blog. I know I need to spend more time thinking about the 5 W’s….
I have a feeling we will be seeing a big shakeout in the MSM over the next year as the financial meltdown affects more and more of America. There will be a number of proffessional reporters looking for ways of making a living without the corporate media paycheck. I bet we will be seeing more of them in the ranks of bloggers. ..
Gotta run…Time to viist the local Farm Store for our Chrismas dinner makings…Buying local rules.