The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Traditional local news outlets are grappling with dwindling circulation and shifting audience preferences. But a new breed of digital platforms is emerging in their stead. Are we witnessing the dawn of a new era for local journalism?

People sitting in a subway carriage reading newspapers.
Photo by Peter Lawrence / Unsplash

Remember newspapers? Remember radio?

And if you have been following the news closely, you might have heard the bad news...

Local newspaper circulations have dropped.
Local news channels are almost non-existent.
Local radio stations have been culling their workforce.

Various reasons are being whispered.

"Advertisers have moved entirely to digital marketing."
"AI-based writing is cheaper to deploy."
"Topics create more robust 'niches' than local geographies."

That last one is commonly accepted within the industry as the reason why people have moved away from local news to digital alternatives in all three forms - print, radio, and TV.

Except, digital content-creators are slowly realizing that 'local' is also a 'topic' and that it an be a pretty solid niche.

I mean, several newsletters already focus on aggregating city-specific news. There are city-specific newsletters, city-specific podcasts, and city-specific YouTube channels.

Now, it's true that most of them focus on relaying second-hand news by relying on existing news outlets. But, what happens when local news outlets finally die? Will these aggregators also die?

Some might, perhaps.

But I personally believe that some of them might pivot to first-hand reporting. They will hire people and give them a 'desk' and assign them specific 'niches' to track and report on. They will deliver their combined efforts at exactly the same time everyday. They might even have special weekend editions that are more 'light' compared the more serious weekday-editions...

...and so on.

That sounds familiar, doesn't it?

City-specific newsletters are the new local newspapers
City-specific podcasts are the new local radio stations
City-specific YouTube channels are the new local TV channels.

The more things change, the more they stay the same!

You know what I'd like to see?

I'd like to see a radio station somewhere buy out a podcast and integrate the podcasting team into their workforce. Or a local newspaper do the same with a newsletter.

I have a feeling that results of this M&A will probably be mind-blowing... 😉