Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Brave New World for Community Journalism

In the not so distant past, community newspapers like the Columbia Flier and The Howard County Times worked on weekly deadlines. The papers were printed once a week and everything revolved around that schedule. Today, with a large part of their audience only reading online that model no longer holds true. Today, the papers post stories pretty much as they break, particularly with events like high school sports. Paul Milton, the Executive Director of News Operations for Patuxent Publishing and our podcast guest this week has helped shape much of this transformation in the 27 years he's been with the media organization.

One of the more interesting discussions we had was the dynamic of commenting on stories. The comments made on some stories on the Explore Howard website make blog comments see tame by comparison. Paul likened it to talk radio.

Since Patuxent Publishing is in the business of local news gathering we decided to dedicate the entire show to local news. With an abundance of stories this time around like  Town Center sign guidelines, bag taxes, speed cameras, and quadruplet Boy Scouts we had plenty to talk about.

It is also interesting to note that Patuxent Publishing seems to be embracing the blogging community instead of seeing it as a threat. A healthy symbiotic relationship has been developing between the establishment press and the bloggers over the past year. Patuxent writers have begun attending the blogtail parties and even Patuxents irascible editorial editor, Doug Miller, has softened his view of the HoCo bloggers. I believe this to be a very positive development for an informed community.

We’ll likely have Paul back for another news discussion in the not too distant future but until then you can listen to the 36th episode of “and then there’s that…” here.
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