Premise for this blog: In a hypothetical world, I've been given $1 million to start my own news product for a small town.
So. This is hard to say without knowing the specifics of said small town.
It's so hard to define what a town needs without being plugged in.
There's my disclaimer.
Also, I don't know budgeting so I'm just assuming a million is plenty enough for anything.
Hmm. Well what's news? what's necessary for effective news?
It would have to be interactive. Customizable. Personal.
But you also want that news you can't get anywhere else. That news that typically goes into briefs.
What are the bus schedule changes? How is the construction going to affect parking? Where can I get the cheapest gas?
The first thing that comes to mind for me is Wilmington Star-News' Myreporter.
My news outlet would have a component like this.
This would allow readers to get the news they desire — and only the news they desire. This way, people won't have to sort through pages and pages of things they don't care about but go straight to success.
It would also have a print component of some sort. Perhaps it would be smaller, but it would have something to read with your daughter on your lap or at the local general store. It would have to be there to provide the social aspect.
And in a small town, a newspaper has to have some kind of "refrigerator journalism" aspect. You can't get that on a web site. Printing it out and putting it up just isn't the same.
My paper would have extensive, exhaustive local coverage. I probably wouldn't buy an AP wire service. Maybe a cheaper wire service like McLatchy, for briefs and to fill the paper. I would use that money a wire service would cost to employ more local reporters. But also for things like more photojournalists and multimedia journalists. People love slideshows. And multimedia just makes news more fun and interactive.
My paper would also have monthly meetups, so journalists can have a part in the social aspect of in-person sharing the news.
Each one of these would offer a different product.
Now, these are just musings. Apologies for not being more specific.
I think I will be one day though. :)