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. Esther’s back!
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.
- News Corp agrees deal with Google over payments for journalism
- Google has agreed to pay Nine Entertainment Co more than $30 million in cash annually for the use of its news content
- In response to Australia’s proposed new Media Bargaining law, Facebook will restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content
Hot takes (links are free…!):
- Jeff Jarvis on how Australia’s Facebook troubles are being seen around the world: “Be careful what you lobby for…Murdoch is a greater threat to democracy than Facebook. Facebook et al need to clean their house (but)… we need to address the Murdoch problem.”
- Emily Bell on Facebook’s PR disaster: “By turning off news sharing, Facebook has turned attention away from flawed government legislation and on to its own reckless opaque power.”
- Benedict Evans on how paying for news actually works: “If your theory of subsidy (which you pretend is not a subsidy) is based on links and perhaps traffic, then the most popular sites get the most money, which means the populist tabloid, not the thoughtful broadsheet with the social value that justifies the whole exercise.”
- Mike Masnick on the bizarre reaction to Facebook’s decision to get out of the news business in Australia: “This fight was not “Facebook v. Australia.” Or “Facebook v. journalism” even though some ignorant or dishonest people are making it out to be the case. This was always “Rupert Murdoch v. the open web.”
- Thomas Baekdal defines links, sharing and reuse once and for all: “If you want to talk about paying for using news, this discussion cannot just be about Facebook and Google. We are doing it every single day. But in the press, we have decided the quoting is acceptable because everyone is doing it … even though this is a really big problem for the industry. Every time someone posts an exclusive news story, it only takes a few minutes before 100s of news sites are publishing the same thing.”
- Dominic Ponsford on why Facebook’s withdrawal is a short-sighted own goal: “If Facebook doesn’t need news why has it gone out of its way to court publishers around the world with substantial payments so that they can appear on its new Facebook News section?”
- News traffic in Australia drops after Facebook link-sharing ban
- Facebook’s botched Australia news ban hits health departments, charities and its own pages
- A homegrown Australian news app is now No. 1 in the App Store
- What we can learn from the Facebook-Australia news debacle: Democracies are right to look for creative ways to direct money from big tech to the news industry
- In Australia, Facebook’s ban on sharing news stories has sent publishers’ traffic tumbling
- Industry reacts to Facebook’s Australia news ban
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