2013 Essay Contest - Third Place Winner

The Importance of Local News and the Digital Age

By Jenna Eason, Schley County High School, Ellaville, Georgia

 

What is important to the people? Is it the weather, the last breaking news story, the latest update on traffic information, or all of the above? Either way, local news is obviously a significant portion of a person’s life. The problem for news organizations today is meeting the need for information during the digital age. Finding new ways to provide information will engage the community to create a well-informed population. 

Today, people are interested in local news because they appreciate new information. The principal matters in which people are concerned are traffic information, the weather, and breaking news stories (Sasso, 2011). Statistics reveal that eighty-nine percent of adults follow weather news, and the percentage of adults following breaking news is eighty percent (Sasso, 2011). The Internet is rated the top source of information among the seventy-nine percent of people who utilize it (Mitchell, Purcell, Rainie, & Rosenstiel, 2011). Local news information remains necessary to communities across the nation solely because people relish being aware of the daily activities in their community.

Since the digital age is upon us, news organizations need to acquire modern methods to meet the demand of the people. For example, daily postages of information on the Internet satisfy the audience’s need for knowledge on main issues such as the weather. As Joaquin Alvarado stated at a panel discussion held at Mercer University (personal communication, September 28, 2012), people have to feel that the information published is useful. Reliability is also an important factor in journalism according to Jennifer Greer (personal communication, September 28, 2012). Sherrie Marshall stated that “getting it right” is the legacy in traditional media which encourages audiences to read and trust honorable news industries (personal communication, September 28, 2012). Another way to fulfill the desire of the people is open communication, as Teya Ryan suggested (personal communication, September 28, 2012). If the audience has an opportunity to ask questions and report errors, more people will be involved in obtaining news information. In this way, news organizations may meet the needs of the community in the digital age.

A momentous factor for news industries is engaging the community, according to Tim Reagan-Porter (personal communication, September 28, 2012). In my very active community, adults enjoy gathering information about daily activities, but teenagers remain indifferent when it comes to being informed. I believe involving young adults can be achieved by including an article from the school newspaper in the local newspaper every week or every month. It would also cause more adults to be involved for parents always enjoy seeing the achievements of their children. By this, many youth would engage themselves in the local news. 

The community is a diverse organism. Many people have different religions, opposite opinions, and distinct interests. Since this is true, news organizations are desperate to attract readers. They achieve this goal by publishing the activities in which the audience is interested. Although news industries have not perfected the effort to please the people in the digital age, local news remains a substantial part of a person’s daily life. 

References

Mitchell, A., Purcell, K., Rainie, L., & Rosenstiel, T. (2011, September 26). How people learn

about their local community. Retrieved from http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Local- news.aspx

Sasso, Brendan (2011, September 25). Pew study: TV still most popular local news source.

Retrieved from http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/183765-pew-study-people-rely-on-various-local-news-sources-tv-still-most-popular