Are Local Print Community Newspapers Dead?
The functions of a traditional, printed community newspaper are to:
- Tell stories that have meaning locally
- Unite small communities
- Provide community calendars and event listings
- Bring hyper-local issues to light
- Provide ads for relevant local businesses
Unfortunately, many hyper local papers are dying off instead of evolving. It doesn’t have to be this way.
What if, in addition to the above mentioned traditional items offered by a print publication, local community news organizations could serve to:
- Build the local community and make it stronger
- Provide a way to unite community members and give them an amplified voice
- Connect people hyper-locally in a meaningful way
- Create an interactive calendar anyone can add to
- Create ongoing discussions between real members of the community
- Create monthly polls, gather feedback and put change into action
- In addition to reporting, let real people tell their own stories to the community
New web technologies offer the ability to easily do all of this and so much more. Yes, print is dead/dying. But, the people smart enough to evolve their brands and take advantage of new tools can create something even better for their local communities.
If your local community newspapers are merely shrinking in influence or closing their doors without trying anything new, it presents a huge opportunity for you to step in and create something better.
I’m not talking about a shut-gun approach here, this should not be something built by people miles away in Silicon Valley.
For this to have meaning and work hyper locally it needs to be done by someone who lives in the community, has a passion/understanding of the community, and wants to lay the groundwork for the evolution of the traditional, print community newspaper.
Doesn’t picking up a newspaper from a box or stack outside a restaurant seem outdated and irrelevant? Locally, the organizations that enable community building and two-way communication, embracing tools that are less wasteful and far more useful will be the winners of tomorrow.