Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Local Buzz in Chrysalis Mode--Saulmon Speaks

Greg Saulmon, editor of the Local Buzz, a free newspaper focusing upon politics, civic affairs, and the arts in western Massachusetts, was initially taken aback when his employer, Mass Publishing, an affiliate of the Springfield Republican, announced that the monthly print edition of the Buzz was being discontinued. The Local Buzz Blog would stay as a location on MassLive. Should buzz-meisters Saulmon, Bill Peters, and Josh Thayer be pounding the pavement in their daddies' wingtips? After sleeping on it and suffering the requisite dark night of the soul, Greg realized that he was was actually being granted an amazing opportunity.

When we spoke with Greg Saulmon on March 2, he had already submitted a proposal to the parent company for reinventing the Local Buzz as a cutting-edge, web-based publication. Details? Well, Greg isn't showing his hand right yet. But he suggested that exciting developments are afoot....

That subject being off the table, we proceeded to have a fantastic discussion about the changing face of journalism and what that might mean to the Pioneer Valley. With Bloggers such as The Northamptonist actually walking the beat, attending meetings, and working the community in real time, should the cubicle-based scribes at the dailies be worried? How can collaborative information-gathering deliver niche information to the community--such as, say, the locations of stores that sell live bait for fishing? Do newspapers really need to employ trained reporters to cover "ice cream socials," or can that type of reporting be off-loaded to the greater community, freeing up newsroom resources to cover hard news? Why are certain newspapers having such a hard time understanding that a website can be much, much more than a simple copy-and-paste from the print edition? Can social networking part the "Tofu Curtain" (AKA the Holyoke Range) that separates the upper valley from Holyoke and Springfield?

Well, Extra, Extra; Read All About It. Wanna Meet The Press? Listen in.

Use either these direct links to download or play in quicktime, or use the embedded flash player to listen directly from this webpage.

gregsaulmon1
gregsaulmon2
gregsaulmon3
gregsaulmon4



11 comments:

Daryl said...

Excellent interview Mary. Great perspectives Greg.

Jeff said...

Any possibility of getting those audio files as MP3? I typically like to listen to Greg while I'm in my car.

Mary Serreze said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Jeff. Have posted direct links to the mp3s.

Jeff said...

Wow! Fast work. I thank you!

Tommy said...

Very cool.

P. Mastrangelo said...

great show mary, you and greg covered interesting and timely topics. really enjoyed listening. you two are pretty smart kids.

Heather B said...

Nice job, this would make a great regular feature of some kind.

LarryK4 said...

Greg seems to have figured it out, as has blogging guru Tommy Devine: It’s all about COMMUNICATION. Sure, let the bricks-and-mortar media conserve their highly-trained journalists for the hard news stories and let the common folks handle the ice cream social, dog bites man and fund raiser for the local schools content.

But also keep in mind that there are bloggers every bit as good--if not better--than your average local journalist doing this “job” simply because we love to communicate.

And when it comes to communication, nothing is more important than accuracy and the ability to publish.

Mary Serreze said...

Right on. The bloggers are scooping (no pun intended) our beloved daily on a *daily* basis--not with our take on ice cream socials, but in our investigative work, our local political and civic affairs reporting, and in our use of multimedia. So rock on, y'all.

Bill Sweet said...

I think this is a great development, though I have to say my first thought was back to when the Word and Pictures Museum announced they were "moving" online, and then promptly disapparated.

It's good that the bloggers are holding the feet of the dying print media to the fire. What's sad is that journalism is increasingly becoming something that people are doing in their free time, and not as a paid career.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, tell me about it!

Look at any local hick town, city, state or God forbid our Federal Government. If shining a light on stupidity or laziness can save even one-half on one percent of the annual budget expenditures, “journalists” (including paid citizen bloggers) would justify their existence--on a strictly monetary level--many times over.