This week Megan Lucero, director of the Bureau Local at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, provides us with a look at the present and future of local journalism. From the trials of finding resources to the project mentality behind some powerful stories, Lucero provides a hopeful and achievable look at how regional media is changing.
In the news roundup, we discuss the fallout and hot takes from the Australia/Google/Facebook news and try to come with a workable solution to an intractable problem.
The full transcript is live here, or see below for some highlights:
On the Bureau Local’s mission
So the challenge really evolved to be – instead of just collaborating in a traditional sense of partnership – we really embrace the idea of collaboration. So we called for technologists, we call for members of the public, we call for experts… we talked about it as ‘our collaborations are people committing acts of journalism with us’.
So it’s about contributing what you can to making sure that there is public interest information, holding power to account at a local level.
On the challenges of local journalism
One of the things we’ve been fighting over the past four years is, despite everything, we are trying to contribute to this industry, it’s still crumbling. We lose collaborators every week, every time a newspaper shuts down, or every time there’s cuts and a reporter can’t work with us. So while we think we’re contributing a really important project to the ecosystem, we are very, very conscious that our very community, our very network is really struggling.
So over the next year we’ll be exploring [if we] can collaborate and share things that are more than just stories are more than just investigations and data. Can we share more resources that will help newsrooms survive and continue to do this kind of work?
On what local journalism could be
Journalism could be the connector of a community. It used to be buying your local paper was your ticket to being a citizen; it showed you how to interact with which schools you were going to send your kids to, or what the kind of local sports results were or what was happening, your town council or whatever it was you needed.
You needed this big information, to find out the weather for the next day as much as you needed the TV listings or whatever it was. That was the business model behind it; the news part was never really paid for, and obviously, the internet disaggregated that.
Now you can get your weather elsewhere, you can get your sports listening elsewhere… everything is disaggregated. So all you’re left now is the news bit of it.