With four days to Christmas, the port of Dover is closed for 48 hours at least, Brexit is 10 days away, covid-19 has an additional strain that I’ve heard called covid-20 and life has been affected in a ridiculous number of ways.
So, what is the role of local news (and local government) in this situation when the locality is not the one immediately affected? How much effect gets reported?
What is the remit of local or regional media? There’s a great clip in the movie The Paper where the staff are having their morning meeting and discussing incidents around the world. None of them affect them until a local couple are in the incident report.
The Paper is about a regional paper having to deal with the big boys (a gendered phrase but still used in the patriarchy?) who have more money and can have more staff, nice offices, etc. The extra work is done in the film’s central offices by overworked staff. But to do the story right, you can’t sell out to the moneyed forces, seems to be the message.
The main character Henry is overworked, has more pressure on him through his wife’s imminent delivery of their baby and is looking for a way to improve things. He goes for a job interview with the Sentinel, a big paper with lots of money.
I imagine that the Sentinel is meant to be the New York Times. The unhurried nature of it is in contrast with the hectic smaller paper. The New York Times is considered the paper of record. It covers the world but it is a local paper.
In Noam Chomsky’s interview with Andrew Marr, he talks about a story being placed in Newsday in order to smoke out the New York Times.
They couldn’t get the main stream press to cover them, but they did manage to get one journal to cover it – Newsday – that’s a suburban journal in Long Island, the purpose obviously being to smoke out The New York Times, as that’s the only thing that matters.
What I’m getting at in a slow and arduous way is that resources determine a lot of remit. With all the money in the world, a local paper can cover the world. Would it be useful for a local paper to cover the world?
What does it take for a local paper to cover national issues (or to rephrase, what does it take for a local story to be a national issue — see Diesel fleet story I covered) and for a national paper to cover local issues?
One case over the weekend was illustrative of how symbolic paraphernalia adds to authority and it aligns with another case that happened the other way around — from local newspaper to national coverage.
On Saturday, a Twitter account Called Caroline[lots of numbers] tweeted a Breaking story that Christmas had been cancelled. It took other journalists vouching for her — transferred authority — for anyone to believe that it actually was the deputy political editor of the Mirror who had been locked out of her account because she’d forgotten the password.
The other case I was thinking of was local democracy reporter Adam Postans discovering that –before the vaccine had even been approved — distribution of it was going to begin December 2nd in Bristol (and other areas). The Bristol Post broke the story and it went nationwide; actually it went worldwide but was not really credited to the original reporter. It was just news.
Did it add to the authority of the journalist?
Anyway, just a scrambling of thoughts there trying to link things together. I’ll let it cogitate for a bit until I can find a link.
Two issues to think about here:
- How do we fund journalism and does it affect what gets covered, and how?
- Does more money in social media make for a greater social media effect? How does it affect the model?