There has lot of grumbling about the imminent demise of newspapers. You can scope out all the latest casualties here.
On the flipside, there are many exciting developments that suggest news reporting in new and different forms is here to stay.
At the community level, Patch is one of the more interesting and innovative developments.
Patch is giving voice to underserved, but significant (15 – 100K population), suburban markets that are generally overlooked by the major metro dailies (that it, if the market still is one). They’re doing it online, encouraging active community participation and giving back through their “Give 5” program.
Cheers to the talented team of publishers, editors and reporters who saw fit to evolve and innovate. And another shout out to the local, on-the-ground teams across the country charged with starting up their community Patch sites.
But this is a business-to-business blog, so why should professional services providers care about these hyper-local, community-centric online publications? Because this is the future of news and information delivery.
Pick a city and check out the “Who’s who” profiles. This is an opportunity to let the Little League parents know that, despite your fanatical screams for the Pony Padres every Saturday, all week you’re a mild-mannered expert in interstate taxation issues. Are you a green architect who wants to showcase your services and work with like-minded folks with the potential to refer business your way? Check out the volunteer opportunities to steer local school and library greening programs.
In recent weeks, my office has had reason to coordinate with two different Patch editions. In both instances, there were fatal accidents in the local area, and attorneys were working to find witnesses to help sort out what actually occurred. The Wall Street Journal just isn’t very effective for this purpose. Of course, there are highly targeted advertising opportunities to be had, as well. Patch is an easily accessible information resource unlike any the majority of smaller communities has ever known.
Remember, every media outlet – from CNN to The Recorder to the El Cerrito Patch to your personal Facebook page (yes, it counts) – appeals to a different audience and speaks to that audience in a different voice and style. So beware of thinking the neighborly tone of your local Patch allows for less-than-professional participation. Working with media remains all about awareness of the differences in these communication tools and delivering appropriate messages in a manner that is going to resonate and reflect well on you and your affiliated organizations.