Last week, we discussed the fact that while large newspapers are struggling, smaller papers that serve their local community continue to thrive. This really isn't too surprising, since small-town newspapers that know their communities remain the best way for advertisers to target those markets. The idea that newspapers should focus on best serving their target market is a lesson that applies to anyone in the industry. But the The Project for Excellence in Journalism has a different take, as it decries the focus on "hyper-local coverage" in a new report about the state of the industry. The organization is particularly worried by the elimination of foreign news bureaus at many newspapers, which it sees as simply a cost-cutting move. While many publishers might see eliminating foreign news bureaus as just a way to reduce costs, it's a move that often makes sense. The Dallas Morning News, for example, probably doesn't need a Middle East correspondent, when that region is so fully covered through newswires and on the web. As for what the industry should do to stem its troubles, the report said that a "new economic model" must be developed. This is something we've been talking about for quite some time, though without some recommendations, it's just rhetoric. There's no reason that refocusing on local coverage can't be part of this new model.
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