Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Small town webpapers bumping small town newspapers..

Two Okanagan towns have good little weeklies, The Oliver Chronicle  (1937) and The Osoyoos Times.(1947)  Now they also have two good little daily web competitors, and  The upstarts take classifieds and obits for free and have some paid advertising to boot.  The business model of the dotcoms is low capital and a little more responsive.  Both weekly papers have a web presence nowadays with daily updates (as does every little paper in Canada apparently).  You have to ask how long heritage papers will endure before it's just competitive websites duking it out.

I like both weeklies and over the years have sent a couple club stories to them, placed a few ads, followed the politics and accidents and news of marriages, looked for shopping deals in their pages.  Now, for breaking news, I check the internet first (Forest fire on edge of Osoyoos, Fatal accident south of Oliver).  The upstart competitors let local people put in their own stories and photographs with a little adult supervision. It's fun to be part of the story.  The content is less disciplined in the webpapers but that's how most news is dished up in real life as you talk to people across a counter or beside you on a bus.  With no paid reporters, you don't get the local baseball scores unless someone feels like writing it up.

Though no national or regional stories make the cut, local politics does.  Ultimately, all politics is local.  If I was running for political office, I'd have these little daily websites on my radar and would try to influence their content.

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