When we teach journalism in college, we teach that “all news is local” as a way of reminding j-students of John Donne’s caution to not send to ask for whom the bell tolls. **Johathan Chance ** is exactly right – nobody walks out onto their porch to pick up a local newspaper hoping to read about the latest news from Iraq. But if a local lad was killed or wounded in Iraq (as has happened in my hometown) they want to know about that. Years ago, when a cruise ship caught fire off the coast of Alaska, two local people were aboard. I was then the editor of the local (6,000 circulation) daily newspaper. You can bet that my readers wanted to know how the local couple fared, what they had to say, etc. When the U.S. government was selling wheat to Russia, it affected the price of wheat grown here in eastern Colorado. We reported on that effect.
The phrase “All news is local” is also a nod to the globalization of my small town. If the U.S. government requires higher emissions standards on motor vehicles, that will affect the price of corn grown locally. If the Chinese increase their oil imports significantly, that raises the price of gasoline on Main Street in my town. If the New York Stock Exchange tanks, that makes it harder for me to get a home improvement loan, which means the local lumber yard won’t sell as many 2X4s. Tsunamis in the Pacific, starvation in Darfur, and disappearing polar bears all have an impact right here in downtown Sterling, Colorado; sometimes its small, sometimes it’s significant. We teach journalism students that “all news is local” so they’ll watch for how global issues will affect their local readers, and be prepared to inform their readers of that effect, one hopes, before it happens.
Evil One is right about marketing, too – but naturally that only pertains to broadcast. Print journalists are too pure of mind and heart to “market” anything, right Jonathan? :rolleyes:
By the way, I think it was House Speaker Sam Raburn who once said, “All politics is local,” meaning essentially the same thing. Whether journalists picked it up from him or vice versa, I don’t know.