Jurnos at work – fun, meaningful, busy busy busy

This wonderful post from Nieman Labs last month chronicles the hectic lives of AnnArborChronicle.com’s editor and publisher, and offers a 10-point overview of their working lives.

It doesn’t seem as if they have a non-working life. Which is why I hope these local niche news sites form networks someday to share news, information and advertising resources.

Here are points 5, 6, and 7. Check out the post for the rest of the story.

5. Google News Alerts every morning. Has any other service been adopted by every newsroom in the country with so Picture 9little fanfare? The Chronicle is no exception; each morning, Morgan selects a handful of items from her 12 news alerts for phrases like “university of michigan” and “washtenaw county” for two news-from-out-of-town aggregators.

6. More than 20 public meetings a month. No, Mr. Simon, most local-news blogs don’t staff zoning hearings. But many do, and the Chronicle is one. When they launched, Morgan and Askins built their monthly schedule around a list of meetings the Ann Arbor News wasn’t covering. Today, exhaustive summaries of Ann Arbor’s Public Market Advisory Commission, Public Art Commission and Downtown Development Authority meetings are the Chronicle’s bread and butter, filling almost half its editorial time.

7. Two sets of eyes on every full story. A 5,000-word meeting story might take six hours to write and two to edit, Morgan said.

Another example of poor reporting

You know, I really try to focus on solutions, leaning forward into journalism’s transition, maybe even contributing to it a tiny bit. And then I see another example of poor reporting from a traditional media journalist covering emerging journalism. This week’s bad boy is Newsweek, which did another pat-the-poor-little-hyperlocal-blog-on-the-head-and-say-there-there article.

Check out this sentence, which appeared early in the article:Picture 5

Thousands of hyperlocal sites have now sprouted nationwide. But the model has yet to produce a seminal success story—and in fact there have been significant failures, including LoudonExtra, which shuttered last month.

And then several paragraphs later, this:

Web-news guru Jeff Jarvis, director of the interactive-journalism program at the City University of New York, has done an extensive study of hyper-local economics, and he’s optimistic. “The most startling and hopeful number I have found is this: some hyper-local bloggers, serving markets of about 50,000, are bringing in up to $200,000 a year in advertising,” he says.

Didja think to ask Jeff to identify the successful hyper-local bloggers?

And, one more thing while I’m on this rant, hyper-local is the most stupid term I’ve heard in a long time. I admit that I was guilty of using it for a while. Then, I put my thinking cap on and realized that journalists were using the term to describe people — often journalists — who were covering communities of 30,000 or 50,000. Ho. That’s a good-sized small town. Most of those small towns have honest-to-god newspapers. Do you call the reporters at those small dailies and weeklies hyper-local journalists? No, you call them journalists.

So, Johnnie L. Roberts and the folks at Newsweek who further poo-poohed the emergence of the new type of journalism by giving the headline PeytonPlace.com to the article, you blew it! You missed the real story! Check out WestSeattleBlog.com, QuincyNews.org, Baristanet.com, the new KansasCityKansan.com, and dozens of other local Web-based news organizations that are making it. And while you’re at it, check out the hundreds of topic-based niche news sites that are employing thousands of jurnos, and are raking in hundreds of millions of dollars.