Local blogs for politics, media and activism
I found two very interesting articles recently which describe how politics, activism and media are influenced by the web.
Joe Garofoli from the San Fransisco Chronicle wrote the article "Local blogs are key to future of politics," reporting from the Yearly Kos convention. He describes how local politics are already influenced by a mixture of citizen journalism, activism and blogging:
Here's how: A blogger writes about something going on in his community, say plans for a local development to be built on toxic ground - the kind of story many large newspapers rarely break nowadays. Residents start complaining about the issue at local meetings. Soon, the buzz generated causes the local press and perhaps other larger bloggers to pick up on the issue, and the government is forced to respond to their inquiries.
So websites, such as saveoceanbeach.org, are used for local activism because they offer a forum otherwise not available and provide tools to network and advocate for an issue. Blogs jump into the gap that US newspapers leave open: "as more newspapers cut staff and can't cover many of the stories they used to, bloggers who cover local politics have become the de facto watchdog in some communities and over some areas of government."
Scott Karp argues in his blog post "Should Newspapers Become Local Blog Networks?" that the traditional media transforms itself into blogs that consist of three types of contributors: full-time reporters and editors, paid freelancers, and witness reporters. "What’s becoming clear is that blogs are now the organizing principle for newspapers’ original online content."
As I am living in Germany at the moment, I have to state, unfortunately, that not a single German city is mentioned in the worldwide top 30 blogging cities according to a Forrester study. Anyhow, we have cities such as Stuttgart which has a town blog, and cities like Karlsruhe have a wiki for all kinds of topics.