WSW: What's The Future Of Local News Coverage?

May 16, 2016

Historic marker on former home of Kalamazoo Gazette
Credit WMUK

Intercom, an association made up of communication professionals in Kalamazoo, is hosting an event on Thursday called Breaking the News. 

The panel discussion with WMUK News Director Andy Robins and others will explore the future of local news coverage. Intercom Board President Gretchen Johnson and Columbia Journalism Review Midwest Correspondent Anna Clark, who will moderate Thursday’s discussion at Western Michigan University’s Fetzer Center, joined WMUK’s Gordon Evans.

Johnson says the changes in the media landscape have been happening over a long-period, but have accelerated in recent years. She says that’s been a topic of discussion among communication professionals, but needs a “broader audience.” 

Clark says the recent Flint Water crisis shows the need for quality local news coverage. She says the question is how the business model can work for media outlets that are seeking to inform the public. Clark says the public radio model of seeking contributions from listeners may be a method that other news organizations could pursue.

Johnson says journalists at the local level are “absolutely essential to a community’s future, to our growth and vitality.” Clark says this is a moment of “great change.” She says while that is hard, there is “a lot of wonderful journalism happening in exciting new models.”