Ann Arbor Area Community News
When the Ann Arbor News ceases publication on July 23, Ann Arbor is going to find itself without a local daily printed newspaper for the first time in at least a century. Love it or hate it (and there were plenty of people in both camps), the Ann Arbor News was the go-to local news and information source for most people in town. When you asked someone “did you see it in the paper last night?” everyone knew what you meant.
While AnnArbor.com would like to take over the mantle of default news provider, changing the name, firing almost all the employees, and moving to a primarily online vehicle has caused enough shakeup that they are going to have to earn this title. With the home delivery last week of the weekly Ann Arbor Journal, it is clear that news sources are scrambling to fill the void (and advertising dollars) that will be left by the demise of the Ann Arbor News. AnnArbor.com is focusing on their “24/7” web presence with the addition of Thursday and Sunday printed papers. The Ann Arbor Journal has a web site, as well as a fairly active Twitter account and a Facebook page, but will focus primarily on their weekly printed paper. The Ann Arbor Observer is a long-time, well-respected printed monthly known for their full-length articles that has recently revamped their website to provide more articles online. Interestingly, the Michigan Daily will be the only local daily paper come September, although they don’t publish on the weekends (and they are a weekly during the summer). The Ann Arbor Chronicle has garnered a lot of enthusiasm with their online daily news site. And of course, there are many other news and specialty blogs like ArborUpdate and MGoBlog and e-mail groups such as ArborParents.
In addition to the media scrum, we are left with several fundamental questions. What is a newspaper if there is no paper? If it is online, is it really more of a blog? How about if it accepts comments? What is news? The Ann Arbor Journal wrote about local events and people, which had some people saying “where’s the news?” Should a newspaper reflect a community (political endorsements?). What is a journalist? Someone with a degree in journalism? Someone with experience writing? Someone who is paid to write? What is a citizen journalist?
Maybe in the next few months, we will learn some of the answers. What do you think?
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