Community reporting is a conscientious effort to return to the reputation journalism once had and to restore the role of (digital) newspapers to their true purpose — to serve as a crucible for ideas and opinions.
The founder of a new community publication based in Manly, said, “As a voice for our community, we embrace our civic role by enabling amateur and professional journalists to reach an audience. Just like the finest community newspapers, Publishers Studio recognizes and accepts this covenant: we are a key stakeholder in the forces that build and celebrate our community.
Like the best local newspapers, Publishers Studio affirms the role of citizens through our aspiring writers, journalists, and our readers.”
Publishers Studio, based on Sydney’s northern beaches, was born during the COVID pandemic in 2020. It was a time of great change and uncertainty. It was a time when our sense of community was what held us together.
In communities all over the world, the local newspaper was long-ago lassoed by national and global corporations. In the second half of the 20th century, local newspapers became targets for growing corporate footprints.
Often acquired for rock-bottom valuations, their formats became formulaic, their independence sacrificed on the altar of corporate growth and profits.
Now our world has begun the process of returning to local community values and priorities. COVID does have some upsides; not many, but some.
Those same corporations that swallowed your cherished local newspaper are now retreating to their most profitable channels and local newspapers have ceased being printed, the online version often sitting behind a paywall. Their staff of professional journalists trimmed or eliminated.
And in this news upheaval lies an opportunity for communities to take control of how their stories are gathered and reported, to share the role of news gathering and reporting with people who live and breathe local issues.
Community newspapers have nothing to do with “paper’ and everything to do with digital content that local people can freely access, contribute, and relate to.
In the spirit of keeping our local economies humming, the time has come for citizens to launch community news sites where “news” is sourced from people who reside in the community; those who know what’s important to the citizenry.
I don’t about you but I feel like our communities deserve better than pulp news, the kind that gets its feed from a global corporation firehose.
What’s different about community news services?
They don’t make editorial decisions driven solely by a profit motive.
They don’t run their news to align with political viewpoints.
They don’t choose their stories to please a corporate head office Editor.
They don’t outsource content to 3rd party or foreign news feeds.
They don’t publish advertorials; ads masquerading as editorial.
They always have at least a basic service that is free.
Founder of Publishers Studio, Greg Twemlow, commented on his mission to provide our amateur journalists with a vehicle for their stories, whether fact or fiction, “My view is that our local young people, and actually, people of any age, need a vehicle that will publish their stories to a relevant audience. Anyone interested in writing will benefit from a local publisher that will coach them to improve and enable their work to reach an audience”.
There are literally a million stories worthy of telling in your local community. We are surrounded by incredible people, quietly doing amazing work, but they are invisible to traditional news publications.
Community news is where we can unearth our local talent, learn about their work, and celebrate their achievements.
It’s also how we encourage our journalists and writers.
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