Tuesday, November 18, 2008

new web watchdogs change local coverage

If you're in New Haven, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis or Chicago, a new breed of watchdog is driving local news: Web-based investigative teams with low-budget operations and high-profile visibility. A look at the phenomenon in today's New York Times notes that many are staffed by either young or veteran journalists, and they drive news so effectively that local press are forced to follow their leads in many cases. But unlike traditional news media, they operate on lower staffing and budgets, often supporting their efforts with donations and nonprofit incorporation rather than advertising. It's a hybrid that takes cues from public broadcasting as well as blogging--some "newsrooms" happen in coffee shops--but one that communications directors and media relations mavens need to keep in mind as the media landscape keeps shifting. How will you credential this new breed of watchdog?

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