Thursday, May 17, 2007

Some thoughts from Scott Hall

KAXE commentator, Aaron Brown is a unique character in many ways, but his media use habits are pretty typical for people under thirty. That is, the Internet is his preferred source for a lot of the news and other information he gets on a daily basis. If he were forced to choose between radio, TV, newspapers and the Internet, Aaron would take the Internet. This is from a guy that was once editor of the Hibbing Daily Tribune and still writes a weekly column for the paper. He's done radio work for KAXE and the Wisconsin Public Radio affiliate in Superior. He loves radio, but isn't sure about the future of radio, for a career or as a popular medium.

A recent article in the American Journalism Review interviewed young journalists at the Charlotte Observer, a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper that has about 225,000 subscribers. The Observer employs 250 people in its newsroom, more than 40 of the staff are under 30. With few exceptions, the younger reporters love their jobs, but don't think they have a future in the newspaper business. They respect their elders in the newsroom, but call the product dull and out of touch. They read their paper on-line.

So, why should we care? We're community radio, right? We're different! Yeah, right. Even if that were true for now, where's the next generation of community radio staffers and volunteers coming from? They're probably coming from growing up in the digital age, with the Internet and the more wide open media world it offers. So what can we do to sustain the legacy of community radio? Frankly, most of us boomers aren't sure.

There's some denial out there too. Some of us fogeys think the Internet and the digital media world is shallow and "as bad or worse than TV", the benefits not worth the broader electronic wasteland.

Here at KAXE, we don't buy that, or rather, we can't afford to buy that if we're serious about a the future of community radio, or community media. We're trying to imagine future media habits and needs. So, we are building a multi-media web site we think and hope will be useful to people in northern Minnesota. In the spirit of community radio, we want to create a place where listener, viewer, and reader access is more wide open than ever, and for people in the smallest towns and most remote townships as well as the major commercial centers here. It's a big idea and we're not sure exactly how it's going to look or how it's going to be received. We're launching this project over the next six to eight months and want all kinds of people from all over northern MN to help build it. We hope the web project will be useful to people now, and we hope it will continue the legacy of community radio for generations to come.

What do you think? Want to be involved in the project? Let us know...

Scott "Fogey" Hall
KAXE's Senior Correspondent and Community Access Coordinator


Sandy said...

This is pretty cool!

Ross Williams, Grand Rapids Minnesota said...

Good article.