I've been sitting on the fence too long about getting involved in promoting a Citizen Journalism effort in Lansing, MI. It was my fantasy that the local paper, the Lansing State Journal, would step up to its responsiblity and report more than the soft news and the sensational stories.
The mainstream media, like newspapers, have marginalized their importance. In Lansing, the State Journal spends hundreds of column inches giving depth coverage to Michigan State University's football team. They report position-by-position on the team and they comment about it. I'm a Spartan. I graduated from there.
But, there has to be priorities. Coverage of local government is cursory on its best day. It's hard to get even a surface impression of what's happening on the city level, the county or the township. At least, they can get state government news from the wire services.
What about local bloggers stepping into the breach. Is it time for this in mid-Michigan? There are lots of journalism graduates from MSU working in the area. They know good reporting practices. At least, they should.
There's a whole lot of stuff in our area that needs attention. Crime and local government response to it is one big one. Roads is another. Profiles and activities of our governmental officials are another. How many people know their city council member, their county commissioner, their township trustee and what makes them tick and how they represent us?
What's the next step?
I might have some ideas.