Two articles published today talk about on-line media, and the growing importance of local content in advertising and audience growth. These articles emphasize the long-term importance for broadcasters to capture the local audience that they have controlled over-the-air for so long as that audience makes the transition to the world of Internet media. This growth of on-line media covering local events and issues, and chasing local advertising dollars, may also figure into the current multiple ownership debate as it tries to assess the dominance of the broadcast media, the new competitive forces, and how much ownership regulation is still necessary.
One article, in today’s Washington Post, explores the transition of certain Gannett newspapers to on-line sources of micro-news covering all sorts of community events that the printed paper and the broadcast news programs would usually ignore. The broad coverage of very local events in the community, together with user-generated content posted to the site, and reader contributions to investigative journalism conducted by the paper, are intended to involve the whole community in the web version of the paper.
The second article, from today’s New York Times, talks about how search engine Ask.com is introducing a service called AskCity, using search technology on a local basis to highlight local business and events, and to tap into local advertising dollars. These two articles highlight how the Internet can and will be a local medium, with which the broadcaster will have to compete to an even greater degree in coming years.