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Archive for June 16th, 2011

FCC Gets Meck Deck Wrong

So. Does the internet lack for local news? Let’s see what an FCC study says after honing in on Dallas, Houston, Portland, Cincy, and Charlotte:

CLT Blog and The Meck Deck produce opinionated updates about life and politics in Charlotte. …Simply because some of these sites produce high‐quality content, however, does not mean that they are substitutes for a traditional media outlet. Previous studies have long found that blogs produce little original news reporting (e.g. Blood 2003). With a couple of exceptions, that finding holds true for the blogs this study identifies. A majority of posts involve commentary on stories and features found in traditional media outlets.

Ideally, we would like to measure both the amount of news content that each local news site produces, and the audience that these sites receive. … Still, perhaps the biggest problem with content in these local blogs is that there isn’t much of it. Added together, the nine Cincinnati blogs in the Google reader data produce 5.9 posts a day; the six Charlotte blogs produce 5. … Has the Internet significantly expanded the number of local news voices? The answer that emerges from the comScore data is firm but qualified “no.” We can say the least about the very smallest online news sources those that receive less than a few thousand unique visitors monthly, and are thus unlikely to appear in our data. But above this threshold, we find almost no evidence that the Internet has expanded the number of local news outlets.

If that isn’t the sound of a government agency justifying itself I don’t know what might be.

First, Google reader is far from a perfect sample collection rig. Meck Deck alone usually averages two or three posts a day, meaning the other five blogs the FCC tracked (what were the other four?) would have to be in the .5 post per day range and I doubt that.

Second, the old “original reporting” jag, through a “traditional” lens no less. Posts on Meck Deck — and CLTBlog, DavidsonNews.Net, Cedar Posts, CrimeInCharlotte, Pundit House etc. as well — break news no two ways about it. This is above and beyond original reporting.

Sometimes Meck Deck posts are written in a more traditional “newsy” fashion — as is often the case with crime and punishment stuff — or sometimes I roll total smart ass with exclusive content. Unless you are very familiar with the specifics of the stories and the media market you will not be able to make sense of the “original smart ass.” But judging from the number of FCC licensees in CLT which regularly pilfer Meck Deck ideas and revelations someone knows the difference.

And you know what? That is fine. We’re all about the ideas here. We want to be the seed. But don’t damn the acorn for not being a tree.

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Curfew Centers for Charlotte?

They are trying them in Baltimore — after an Inner Harbor riot very similar to the one which occurred in Uptown Memorial Day weekend.

Teens picked up for violating the city’s curfew (under the age of 17 not allowed out without an adult after 12am on weekends and after 11 pm on weeknights) will be taken to what is basically a detention center:

The center will stay open through the night and teens will be given something to eat while they wait for their parents. Counselors will be on-hand to talk with families.

And think that it only took a stabbing to move Baltimore officials to act. In CLT, someone getting shot down in cold blood does not rate action.

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