Small, feisty and hyperlocal might be the buzz words to describe the future of print news, says this Boston Globe story.
The story, in case you didn’t click the link, is all about online sites that write news stories about local matters in a time when newspapers are simply financially beleaguered institutions that may or may not last.
Yet a number of nonprofit, low-budget news websites akin to Chi-Town are popping up across the nation. These sites, often run by former newspaper reporters and editors, aim to fill what they see as a void in very local news coverage. Some are trying to position themselves to capitalize should the major paper in town go under, a prospect that every day seems less speculative as some newspapers, including the Globe, find themselves increasingly in dire straits.
Some of the sites, like Chicag0-based the Chi-Town Daily News, aren’t looking to replace the city’s main paper, the Chicago Tribune. Instead, founder Geoff Dougherty said he sees it as “doing work that the Tribune might not be able to afford or consider a priority anymore.”
This would be a good supplement to newspapers, but it shouldn’t replace them.
Universal Hub‘s Adam Gaffin even gets a sound bite in the story. His is decidedly optimistic about the future:
“People still want to know what is going on. They want to be told,” said Gaffin, who said his site attracts 4,000 unique visitors a day and features local ads. He said the site is profitable but not enough to support a family. He declined to provide figures. “Journalism will not disappear,” he said. “Someone will figure out the business model.”