I’ve never been much of a reader of newspapers. Even before the internets launched and Craig destroyed the newsprint’s revenue, I didn’t read them much. Not being a liberal, socialist, communist, or hater of all things moral and good, I have tended to be less interested in the hot air produced by the majority of those creating content for the typical printed news.
Of course, on occasion I have found a copy of something printed in my hot little hands.
In my new community, there is a crisis happening to the local printed news industry. Down in Santa Barbara, there is the Santa Barbara News Press. There really isn’t anything else, similar in influence and size, competing with the News Press, so they’ve always done what they want. I’m not too knowledgeable regarding the details of the scandal, but something big has been going on with the News Press for a couple of years. I’ve heard something about the publisher, and some really crappy leadership she has provided. The employees seem to have been screwed, and they’re ticked off about it. Several of the loudest voices have left the News Press and found a home at the little, lesser known, Santa Barbara Independent.
The publisher is Wendy McCaw. The staff organized and voted to unionize. McCaw has behaved at least unethically, if not illegally, in her dealings with the attempted unionization.
That’s the focus of this post. The Independent, from now on known as the “SB Indie”.
As most are probably aware, the Santa Barbara hillsides are on fire. As I write this, fire fighting efforts have been going on for 5 days, and over 8000 acres have burned. Many homes are threatened and hundreds of families are on evacuation orders. I’m not in any danger, where I live, but my place of work resides at the bottom of one of those hills.
Over the recent days, my coworkers and myself have aggresively tried to keep up on the important information regarding the fire. On the first day, I spent hours online, seeking timely information. Oddly enough, I quickly found out that the SB Indie was providing the best information. Why, I have no idea.
However, because of this up-to-date information, I have continued to return to the SB Indie’s website for updates. Coupled with their good info, and the SB News Press’ horrible, pay-if-you-want-the-whole-article past, I have decided that the SB Indie will be providing my Santa Barbara local news. There, I’ve said it.
It was yesterday, I think, that I discovered that one of the SB Indie’s articles included a Google Map. I was surprised to see a “normal” news content provider using a newfangled web technology. Pretty cool! Here’s the article. Scroll down a bit to see the map. Then as I wandered around, I found a link to a much more detailed Google Map, including all sorts of good information for fire-news-seekers. See it here. THEN, I found that the SB Indie is actually promoting the use of Twitter, and their own account, for getting news updates, as SMS text messages, on your mobile phone. Sweet!
This is pretty exciting, if you think about it. A traditional news content provider is learning from us, the blogging world. They’re using our techniques for communicating and interacting. They’re learning. The traditional business model, that news organizations have used for hundreds of years, will not sustain them into the future. However, they all won’t die, I think. The few that embrace these new technolgies just might survive.