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Mar 26, 2008

NEWS: Local Newspaper Trends

France: new print weekly aggregates online media content

Blablabla Hebdo.JPGA new local weekly paper hit the stands last Saturday north of France. Dubbed Blablabla Hebdo, the paper aims to offer a review of the week's media coverage - satirically.

The opening editorial is clear about the paper's view on news:

"We don't believe in 'news.' It's a journalists' invention. And it's precisely because there isn't 'real news', but only 'information', thousands of new bits of 'information' that are constructed daily, that it's of utmost importance to filter those bits."

The paper was founded by Stéphane de Rosnay and Frédéric Lafeuille. De Rosnay has already had experience as a freelancer for a publication with a similar concept, the Canard enchaîné.

Blablabla Hebdo covers media coverage, from print, through a lot of online news, to a bit of TV and radio.

The newspaper works as a content aggregator, mixing non-original content with some opinion. The print paper feeds upon a number of popular blogs and online news sites, including Rue89 and Bakchich.

According to the Calembredaine blog, despite Blablabla's ostensibly critical approach of media coverage, the paper does a good job of digging out stories that went off the mainstream media's radar.

Source: Calembredaine (link in French)

Metro International building city based websites featuring blog network

Free newspaper group Metro International is planning on building "an interactive capability" for all of its newspapers to target young professionals, with Metro France as the pilot launch, according to Brand Republic.

Each city based website will hopefully become, as Brand Republic describes, an "indispensable source of news and information", with a network of blogs on relevant themes and local perspectives.

Tom Symonds, Managing Director of Metro Interactive, said: "With this investment Metro will define its own space, where we not only draw on our users' appetite for relevant news and information but provide a space that is completely focused on urban living and increases the users' influence."

Vice-president of Corporate Development Christian Toksvig, who was hired earlier this month, is in charge of launching free Metro titles in new markets. Currently, Metro publishes 84 editions.

Eventually Metro wants a website for all the 23 countries it operates in.

The blog network can distinguish Metro sites from other local news sites for users. Instead of just browsing through news, users can browse through opinions or other relevant information on local news.

Source: Brand Republic

Street journalism: transmitting live video footage from your camera phone

camera-phone.jpgNo more waiting to upload a video onto a site. Several companies such as Qik andFixwagon are now offering software to accomplish "street journalism", a term used by BBC to describe the phenomenon of transmitting a live video filmed with a camera phone onto a site.

An Israeli television channel is conducting an experiment in giving camera phones to residents in Sderot and Askelon so they can have live evidence of missiles being shipped to their regions.

Leading bloggers already participate in street journalism by streaming live video footage of them attending conferences and of the supporters of American presidential election candidates, which they send to MTV online campaigns.

This is a new development that can bolster citizen journalism since people who are on site at events can immediately transmit their footage to the web, and in turn, viewers can receive on the spot coverage.

Source: Tribune de Genève (in French), Digital Photography School (image)

The end of local papers could mean the end of local news

The Long Beach Press Telegram started off helping expand the LA Times empire in the 1970s and 1980s. In the early 1980s, theLong Beach Independent, the Telegram's afternoon counterpart, printed its last edition. Now it may be time for the Press Telegram to print its final edition because of the declining newspaper industry.

Last month, the Telegram combined with its neighboring daily, the Daily Breeze to cut costs. In maintaining profits, journalists were bought off or laid off.

The city of Long Beach has already complained to Media News that the Telegram isn't doing a good job of reporting the news and has threatened to pull its legal advertising, which would result in the paper's demise.

Though the effects aren't as glaring in larger papers, they are in smaller papers such as the Telegram, according to Dennis McDougal, former Telegram writer. He believes that now, mistakes of reporters make it into the print more frequently and newspapers shy away from investigative stories. If local papers continue to disappear, there would be no substitute for local reporters covering local news everyday in a local newspaper.

Source: LA Times through Poynter Online

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