The changing landscape of news coverage, especially in the Information Age, has brought a number of challenges to the local newspaper industry. One of those is that national and international news coverage is ubiquitous and the local paper now has much more competition than was the case twenty years ago. This is why the local Herald-Times made the decision over a decade ago to focus on local news coverage and de-emphasize national and international news.
This has brought some criticism, including in a letter to the editor on January 11. Years ago, when the H-T made the decision to focus on local news and give local news the priority in the print edition, I disagreed with that decision. Over time, I came to agree with it.
I can get national news anywhere, and I do – I have a subscription to the Washington Post online, and I read many other news sources. I also listen to various news podcasts – ABC and NBC evening news, the Rachel Maddow show and the BBC. For local news, I can get news from exactly three sources: The H-T, the Indiana Daily Student (which is often very good and more local folks should read it) and AM 1370. Local folks (or anyone, anywhere) can download AM 1370’s news programs via podcast if they cannot listen while the programs are on the air.
But for better or worse, the primary source of news for Bloomington and Monroe County is the Herald-Times. Through story comments, HeraldTimesOnline.com also provides a local forum for community dialogue that a couple decades ago only existed in the much more limited letters to the editor section. The H-T is in a unique position to cover local news that you cannot get elsewhere. and they should continue to focus there. The quality of that local news is up for debate, but the focus on local news is a good one.