We live in an increasingly global world. Mobility can make our relationships with our community more fleeting while communications technologies add pressures to maintain more relationships potentially limiting their depth. As well media and internet sources tend to focus on distant or unusual stories. With such competition can local stories and connections attract audience and compete?
My own feeling is that local is the new frontier. I see local stories as the media link to social networks. On a recent FrontLine program NewsWar, several commentators spoke about local or hyper-local coverage being the new wave. The most compelling for me was the interview with Rob Curley (blog , Frontline Interview ) whose vision of local coverage transformed the Lawrence Journal-World into a paper the worlds new media visited. As I remember it’s population of less that 40,000 generated 1M page views a month – much of it by covering the high school sports teams, local government etc.
To me the value of local coverage is about tying into local social networks as I’ve said in comments here and here and most directly here. While these comments deal with radio, the idea that local information can be a link into social networks can apply to any media – and changes the longterm value of local coverage.