28 April, 2014

Unsolicited Advice For Newspapers Struggling to Justify Their Existence (And Sell Some Subscriptions)

The West Virginia Record discontinued my favorite part of their paper,  the county-by-county listings of new lawsuit filings, so I'm hoping they'll consider replacing that valuable information with something else that their readers can't get elsewhere: follow-up on which 13th circuit judges are letting drug dealers off easy, e.g., probation or home confinement. 

West Virginia's opaque judiciary provides The West Virginia Record or the Charleston Gazette with an opportunity. You see, in some states you can follow your local neighborhood drug dealer's case via internet but here in West Virginia there isn't a website you can log into from home to see which judge caught the case, when your local drug dealer appears in court and how that drug dealer is sentenced.  

Drug busts with their flashing blue lights, their badges, their marked police cars and their perp walks, make for good TV but where can news consumers go to find out what happened after the bust? 

As far as I'm concerned, newspapers can stop using resources on world and national news. News hounds like me have a lot of ways to get world and national news but we have very few ways to get the "hyper-local" news that the big news operations can't deliver. Newspapers should stop trying to be all things to all people. Go with the "blue ocean" strategy of being hyper-local. Let the bigger news sharks turn the news ocean red with each other's blood. Give us what they can't. Give us more local news. I'm hoping The West Virginia Record or The Charleston Gazette will start by giving us follow-up reporting on which drug dealers are being sentenced to community service or some other type of creative sentencing that will disrupt their drug-selling activities and which judges are sending these felons back to neighborhoods where 90% of the crime is drug-related.


Higginbotham At Large only publishes the comments of clearly identified submitters. No pseudonymous or anonymous comments will be published. By "clearly identified" I mean something like this: JosephHigginbotham@gmail.com. No Ring of Gyges for you.

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