WE HAVE STUDENTS in work placement with local media companies and although the students have experience with blogs, podcasts, discussion boards and wikis, local media companies feel they don't have the time, money, technical expertise, or a business model to sustain their move to an interactive dimension.
Setting up a comment-enabled newspaper blog can be done quickly and cheaply. If the audience swells, the blog can be customised later.
Local media would be mad to think people will contribute without content in place. People need to see a long tail behind a local media site otherwise they click out.
In our conversations with local newspapers and with local radio stations, their accountants know they have to pay someone to run the web side of things. It often means letting someone in the features department go. The thing is, the third level media audience has already shifted from local print to local online. Readers know this because local newsprint sounds dated since it is obviously written by one generation older than college readers. With a lively local blog, a local paper would discover interesting content that could be shoveled from its blog comments or discussuion fora and into print.