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Monday, July 10, 2006

More MSM Foreign Bureaus Close, Sky Still in Place; WKRN Invites Video Bloggers to be Contributors

Jeff Jarvis at Buzz Machine notes the closing of a couple more foreign bureaus, this time by the Tribune for its Baltimore Sun and Newsday properties and observes an unpardonable truth:

"Pardon my blasphemy, but I disagree. I say that for these local newspapers, closing their foreign bureaus makes sense. Local newspapers are shrinking and have to find efficiencies. But more important, they need to focus on their key value, and that is serving their local communities and put their resources there.

"The harsh truth is that for many local newspapers, foreign bureaus and assignments are merely ego deployments, just like devoting considerable staff to tracking heroin or meth or the root causes of poverty in 87 overlong parts to try to impress a Pulitzer jury. It’s about being the big shot at industry gatherings. It’s not really about serving readers, local readers."

Go here for the complete Jarvis buzz.

A much more resourceful attitude toward gathering the news in the 21st Century is seen in an unexpected place, a local TV station, as described by Terry Heaton:

"In an unprecedented industry move, Nashville ABC affiliate WKRN-TV announced tonight that it would begin paying local bloggers for approved video stories they submit and running those stories on its Website and in its newscasts. WKRN president and general manager Mike Sechrist told a 'meet-up' of local bloggers that he could envision the day when a daily program would be made up entirely of material submitted by the community."

Heaton, one of the Blogosphere's most interesting voices, might have had a teensy bit to do with this display of creativity because he is a consultant to the station, a fact that he notes in his post. Smart stations hire smart people like Heaton.

Go here for the rest of this story.