Will the Internet Inevitably Turn Hyperlocal Reporting to Crap?

In your hazy Thursday media column: Patch struggles with internet tendencies, Wall Street loves News Corp, Chris Matthews is banned from HBO, "new media residuals" sucks, and the AP warns reporters about the Twitter.

  • Here is a quite interesting story by Rick Robinson about how the AOL-owned network of "hyperlocal" news sites Patch.com is, in typical internet fashion, slowly evolving away from actual local news (which is boring) and towards stuff that tends to be popular on the internet (like sex). Local sex! This will happen to everything on the internet if you leave it in there long enough. TWSS.
  • News Corp stock is up in the wake of the company's announcement that it's closing News of the World. Mmm hmm. Wall Street understands crisis management.
  • Oh sad, MSNBC told Chris Matthews that he can't make a cameo on Aaron Sorkin's new HBO show. What will Chris Matthews do for publicity now?
  • How much money are Hollywood writers making off those "new media residuals" that were a big issue in the last writers strike? A little over $200 each. Greedy bastards.
  • AP reporters are saying opinions on Twitter! To stop this, a memo was issued yesterday:

    Subject: Expressing personal opinions on social networks

    Colleagues,

    In at least two recent cases, we have seen a few postings on social
    networks by AP staffers expressing personal opinions on issues in the
    news.

    This has happened on the New York Senate vote on gay marriage and on
    the Casey Anthony trial. These posts undermine the credibility of our
    colleagues who have been working so hard to assure balanced and
    unbiased coverage of these issues.

    AP's News Values and Principles state that anyone who works for AP
    must be mindful that opinions they express may damage the AP's
    reputation as an unbiased source of news. This point is contained in
    our social network guidelines as well.

    Failure to abide by these rules can lead to disciplinary action.

    The vast majority of our tweets on these stories — and on other
    issues in the news — have been completely in line with our
    guidelines. They pose no problem at all, and are consistent with the
    importance of AP staffers being active on social networks.

    But social networks, however we may configure our accounts or select
    our friends, should be considered a public forum. AP staffers should
    not make postings there that amount to personal opinions on
    contentious public issues.

    Please let your supervisor or me know if you have any questions on
    this. And thanks.

    Tom [Kent]