One of the first comments to come my way after the debut of localtvnews was the idea that the “here’s your news, we picked the stories for you, and we’re feeding it to you at 6” mentality just had to die. Cable news proved that, largely spelling the end of the once mighty nightly network newscast. Local news continues with the formula of morning, noon, evening and night as it fumbles around on the web searching for a winning formula.
David Carr may have the ultimate “a la carte” solution: iTunes for news. In a Monday morning post on nytimes.com, Carr devotes his The Media Equation column to the idea that beyond picking and choosing one’s own news stories, according to what you are truly interested in (perhaps it’s city hall, yes; convenience store shootings, no–or, maybe, the other way around), the even more important solution to struggling local news operations is the business model: you’re going to have to pay for it. “Free is not a business model,” Carr quotes Craig Moffett of Bernstein Research.
As Steve Jobs revolutionized the world of music, perhaps someone will do the same for information–providing a platform for consumers to pick and choose exactly those stories they want to see, and are willing to pay for. As local advertising giants like car dealers and department stores drastically scale back their spot TV spending, stations are suffering, cutting costs, and sending journalists packing.
Where’s our Steve Jobs?