That’s One Way to do It

That’s One Way to do It: Communities engaging without broadband.

Newspapers engaging with readers who don’t have broadband can be a real issue. Maybe local radio stations can’t afford to have news departments, or even a part timer “reading news”.

What if it’s a lower income community where folks rely on hearsay to get their news? Yes it’s true, many don’t listen to the radio, read the newspaper or news sites because they don’t have the money for any of the above. But, most Americans have a cell phone and can access news that way.

So some newspapers in small and big cities are texting news alerts (for those who opt in) for their audience to take part in 1) reporting news; and 2) going to town halls to help report news. In Chicago, a newspaper is taking local journalism to another level. The Chicago Maroon has launched The Public Newsroom. Community members can show up to the meetings and take part in citizen journalism. They can report what’s happening in their communities and even write about it. They can also sign up to be alerted to local news of interest and emergencies. So now, those without broadband, but with cell phones, can be as in the know as those of us with desk or laptops.

There’s also the brilliant idea of Storycorp where anyone can record their story. The story can then be distributed widely. Brilliant for radio stations who can’t afford news, but still want to cobble something together for their listeners. Citizen journalism at its finest.

What’s your idea?

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