I had a conversation with a local journalist recently, and during the conversation I brought up that I didn’t really consume a lot of local news, explaining that I didn’t really care for like the coverage. The journalist asked me what I’d like from the coverage, what things would get me to consume local news. This is a thread to brainstorm and discuss some of those ideas. Here’s some ideas, off the top of my head, to kick things off:
- Identify broad themes, involving the most critical challenges facing the state. For example, let’s say the cost of housing, quality of schools, and effects of climate change are the biggest issues….Hmm, no, that’s not really what I’m looking for, although a lot of coverage about topics like this, including explainer pieces would appeal to me….I’m thinking of something else….Maybe something like the amount of regulation and government oversight in the state–how this is a key obstacle to dealing with the biggest problems. Or maybe it’s the influence of the Big Five and apathy of the general public….I guess I’m thinking of not only the biggest issues, but the biggest obstacles to those issues….
- Provide one or two hypotheses or narrative frameworks to report on these topics. For example, Governor Ige and the Democrats in his coalition are too beholden to the Big Five, and they’re trying to entrench the latter’s power (I’m just making this up). A younger generation, lead by politicians like Beth Fukumoto are change agents that are bucking the system, etc.
What I’m getting at is trying to provide a broader narrative to provide context for individual, daily news stories. Think of something like what’s going on in national politics now. We can frame this as narratives that involve Trump as a budding authoritarian, attempting to consolidate power, etc. or a change agent, providing fresh air to Washington. Individual issues and stories can occur within taht context. Of course, some important stories won’t fit into that context, and this approach can lead to obscuring these important stories. Still, getting all the critical information and making sense of it is really difficult. What I’m shooting for is a framework to get a lot of the critical information in a way that citizens understand and find meaningful.