Bloggers taking over the local news scene

As a reporter for a community newspaper, it’s important I stay up to date with the local blogs. In Wellesley, there’s mainly The Swellesley Report, a blog done by a local resident that sort of gathers up info about the town from local news sources (my paper and the Boston Globe) and also occasionally adds its own story.

This was one of the latest posts:

Seen on the Twitter microblogging site recently:

I think I’m going to let our subscription to the Wellesley Townsman lapse and get my dose of local news from The Swellesley Report.

The blog goes on to say how it’s not intending to take out the paper, since we, and I quote, do “real reporting.”  (Not sure if that’s suppose to be a compliment or not).

Yet it made me wonder. Someone in Wellesley is getting more information out of this blog than out of the paper. That’s a sad comment on how our paper issad-face doing. (The blog also rarely links to us, which drives me batty). 

What I don’t understand is if the person is going online to the Swellesley Report to get info, why don’t they also go to the paper’s Web site? We normally have a lot of the same little tidbits of info the blog has. 

People are so disenchanted with papers that they don’t seem to realize blogs don’t have everything. Where is the blog getting its reports from? Hint: The local paper

This Twitter post was very discouraging. And irritating. This is obviously

 someone who understands social media. If you don’t want to pay for the paper, that’s one thing. But  it is simply a slap in the face to say a blog is doing a better job covering local news than we are. We are a small staff. But ending your subscription, you are helping the paper do worse, not better.


Write us letters, emails, something. We want to know what we can do better. We can’t hire another reporter necessarily, but tell us what news/events we aren’t covering that you think we should be. 

Should this comment cause me to reevaluate how I am doing? I’m not sure. I update our blog around five times a day. I update our Web site every day. I don’t know exactly how much more I can do to make people feel our site is the place to check out first, and then read local blogs.



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2 responses to “Bloggers taking over the local news scene

  1. Legally Blonde

    Well, for one thing the Swellesley Report is not the only blog in town. I regularly follow Bostonkayakguy…John Prescott’s the MetWest Scene which does seem to link to you because I always am brought to your blog through his blog. I feel that the blogs are complements to the paper because they pick up the part of the story which interests them most and which they want to comment on. They don’t have to report the entire story, I think a good blogger refers the reader to the newspaper story for more detail, and/or for the more complete picture. A newspaper site isn’t the proper place for a lot of personal takes by a journalist, whereas a blogger isn’t restricted by offering a “fair and balanced” report. Their blog is their take on things. And where you chastise Swellesley for not linking to you, how often do you provide links to the local bloggers? Especially when you don’t even seem to be aware that there’s more than one blogging on Wellesley? Granted, I do see you mention Swellesley quite often and I applaud that. It seems to me that in this new era of information, most people use multiple sources for their info – and most use a combination of newspaper and blogging sites. That having been said, the public’s insatiable appetite for “immediate” news and updates makes the traditional newspaper website almost obsolete, even though you check and update multiple times. A blogger can have quicker access. It might be helpful if the Townsman was inclusive of local bloggers. If I could go to your site, read your stories, and have the local news bloggers on your site and easily accessible via a click, you’d probably have a more marketable business model. I, like most people, want to know what Swellesley, Bostonkayakguy, and the Wellesley Townsman have to say, because you all say it differently – thereby keeping me, the reader, well informed. And lastly, a newspaper for each town is something that really needs to go by the wayside, just like each town having its own hospital. We live in a community that encompasses more than just a single town. Our lives are affected by the town, region, Boston, the state and the country. While I want to know what’s happening in town, I also have a need to know the broader context – again a reason I seek bloggers in addition to newspaper reporters. Maybe community newspapers need to do more in the way of “aggregating” the news, AND also their sources.

  2. eszak

    I definitely think you have some very valid points. I do know about the other blogs in town, but the Swellesley Report is one that really focuses on Wellesley, not just the MetroWest area. In comparison to other towns, like Cambridge or Somerville, Wellesley doesn’t have as many local blogs.

    Newspapers are desperately trying to find ways to adapt to the Internet and blogs. We do have links to the local blogs, but I think a collaboration or something has to be done to make it easier for users/readers to access.

    Thank you for your response. Sometimes you get insulated in the newsroom and it’s great to hear from actual readers and their suggestions.

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