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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Is "The Daily Peg" a Look at the Future of (Local) News?

Remember those "Think Globally, Act Locally" bumper stickers one used to see fairly frequently? Whatever one thinks of the Leftist politics behind the slogan, it might well serve as a maxim for the nature of the new media being generated by the Internet. We can all talk to each other 24/7 around the globe, but we also want to know what is going on down the block, in city hall and at the community center.

I have no doubt the Internet will make possible new media that serve both ends of the communications spectrum and everything in between as well, but what specifically is it going to look like? Is the OhMyNews.com model what we can all expect in our corners of the world in the near future? Or will the "grassroots journalism" project Dan Gillmor is launching soon going to be the new model we all hail? And how about those public wifi networks beginning to spring up here and there across the country? Perhaps those are the seeds of the "21st Century newspaper."

You won't hear me claiming to have the scoop from my own crystal ball, but I do think we can watch an important part of the new media develop courtesy of The Daily Peg. That's the blog of The Pegasus News. If you have a professional or merely speculative interest in where the journalism profession is headed, you need to bookmark The Daily Peg.

The folks behind The Pegasus News are launching what they hope will be the pioneering venture in web-based hyper-local news. Here's how they describe on their blog what they are up to:

"Pegasus News is a local news company that is reinventing the model of local market content and advertising. We intend to launch our new model in every major U.S. city with a monopoly newspaper -- for starters.
"Our beta test will take place in Dallas, Texas in late 2005. We will distribute content via a website, e-newsletters, RSS feeds, a daily print edition, SMS messaging and any other medium we can think of. Except for carrier pigeons. They smell bad."

And here are their "core principles:

· Hyper-local content to the exclusion of all else.
· Rich delivery via as many mediums as possible, with the print edition representing only a small fraction of the content created in a given day.
· Subscription price predicated on level of engagement (higher engagement = lower price).
· Almost exclusively pay-for-performance advertising. Yes, even in print.

Are you intriqued yet? If you aren't, better check your heartbeat cauz this is like getting an email from your as-yet-unborn child.

This one definitely bears watching.