The future of newspapers is bleak, but there are three saving strategies: 1) hyperlocal papers will beat the big city, state, national and international papers, 2) telling the truth instead of false equivalence will foster reader loyalty, and 3) the print-to-web mode of thinking will be replaced by web-to-print, community-driven model.
Carrboro Citizen is an examplar of all three strategies. If you know that Carrboro is tiny, you already see how hyperlocal it is. If you have read it for a while, you know that they do not do the dreaded he-said-she-said tired, old schtick – they tell is at it is, and if you find that the truth hurts, you need to re-examine your own beliefs or loyalties.
But you may not be aware of their web-to-print strategy. The Citizen is really small – a couple of employees, a couple of interns and that’s it. But they are also next to UNC and its amazing Journalism program. Jock Lauterer teaches a class there and each year his students go out to Carrboro and surrounding areas and find interesting things to write about. Their articles then get published online first, on Carrboro Commons, where Kirk Ross and the staff of The Citizen read them and, if they like something, edit the article and publish it in The Citizen. The students learn their trade, the community gets to chime-in in the comments (on both sites), and Carrboro Citizen get to publish good articles written by fresh voices. Everyone wins.
You may remember last week when I told you about an article (which I like for obvious reasons – I am in it) about Carrboro Creative Coworking, and about telecommuting and coworking in general – Creative Coworking offers a new dynamic.
Just a few days later, and from what I can see minimal editing, the article is now on news-stands (as well as online – commenting allowed again) in Carrboro Citizen.
I am willing to bet that in ten years, when New York Times is either dead or changed beyond all recognition, Carrboro Citizen will still be going strong.
And here is more about Carrboro Creative Coworking: