I've written here several times about the decline of local media coverage. As the costs of delivering the news have increased (including the building of hugely expensive printing facilities), newspapers in particular, and even TV news (and the basic non-existance of radio news), have cut costs by cutting staff and reporting. It's happened all over the country. It's led to less reporting, and more focus on press releases. And when they do report, there are usually fewer sources called.
Not long ago the KC Star was one of the better local newspapers in the country. But corporate buyouts, cutting of staff, and increased focus on the bottom line, etc have caused it to be a shell of its former self. With a few exceptions, most of the reporting is suspect at best. I've joked for a while, that if I've ever been involved in an event in this city, and seen the news coverage of it, I've pretty much always wondered if the reporter and I were at the same event.
Thus the rise in online "newspapers". In many communities, real, serious journalists are starting "newspapers" online that are focused on investigative reporting, and really relaying local news. By distributing online, they're able to spend only a small amount of their financial resources on distribution, and focus most of their resources on reporting. A novel concept. There is an interesting interview with the founder of one of these newspapers voiceofsandiego.org that can be read here. The founder of the website mentions other startup ventures similar to it that are popping up in places like Minneapolis and St. Louis.
It's a great concept....and one that I would love to see started in Kansas City. Already I get so much of my local news and information from reading bloggers who actually research their information. Sites like the Kansas City Post, Gone Mild, Blog KC, KC Light Rail, and hell, even Tony's Kansas City when he is having a good day have provided me much more information about certain areas of interest in Kansas City than I've ever gotten from any of the local "news" sources.
In the end, we'll all benefit with the competition of news sources...because we'll have differing opinions, be free of just reading city hall press releases, and getting information beyond just the agenda often set forth by the Star. Everyone will be a winner except for the traditional news sources that fail to adapt and change.
I can't wait.