This blog post about our NewsTrust Baltimore local news experiment was written by local editor Mary Hartney and originally published on our Baltimore blog on May 3, 2011. It is republished here for the benefit of our national community.
We can get our news in so many ways: by scanning our web browsers, reading newsprint or glossy magazine pages, hearing voices on the car radio, or watching the evening news on local TV stations. We have more choices than ever of how to consume information, but each of these forms of media have their own limits and advantages.
For the month of May, we'd like to try something new at NewsTrust Baltimore. We want to take a closer look at various kinds of news sources. We'll explore the different styles of journalism found in print, on television, over the radio and online. We will also dive deeper into some of the biggest issues that affect Baltimore. And we're asking you to help us track how different media treat these major concerns.
To that end, each week in May, we'll examine different sources, grouped loosely by medium. This week, we'll focus on newspapers, magazines and wire services, which we can loosely classify as "print." Next week, beginning Monday, we'll look at television. During the week of May 16, we'll examine radio content. And on the week of May 23, we'll look at blogs and purely online sources.
After each full week of posting and reviewing content, we'll write a brief blog post summarizing some of the highlights we discovered together as a community. We'll also examine some of the strengths and weaknesses of different platforms. Check back to this blog to stay updated on this ambitious news hunt.
This experiment doesn't mean, however, that we'll sacrifice other news stories and media during any given week. We'll keep up a regular posting and reviewing pace, and we hope you'll help.
A note about how content is classified: On our sources page, where you can now rate your sources (check out this blog post for more details on that new feature), you'll find that we categorize each source as one primary medium, even though many sources produce journalism across a variety of platforms. For example, The Baltimore Sun (where I used to work) has its roots as a newspaper but produces much web content, including blogs, video and audio; on NewsTrust, we categorize it as a newspaper. Any individual story can be tagged as a different type of content when it's posted, but anything produced by Baltimore Sun staff will be examined during the week that we look at newspapers.
That said, we want this to be a longer-term news hunt, and at the end of the month, we'll look back at all four weeks and discuss our findings and point you to recommended stories and sources. This will allow us to look at a full month's worth of content across media, while considering each week a shorter, deeper dive.
This week, several monthly Baltimore magazines have posted stories from their May issues, which means this is a great week to look at magazine stories, and we're also including newspapers and wire services in the week of looking at what is historically a "print" medium. May is also sweeps month for our local TV stations, so we're sure to see some interesting stories and projects in the next few weeks.
We hope that we'll see some journalism this month that explains "the big picture" of Baltimore. We'll be looking specifically for stories that add context and get at the deeper issues that affect this city. We don't know yet what those stories will focus on, so we're also open to highlighting stories that follow what happens in the news this month.
We also encourage you to let us know what issues are important to you -- you can leave a comment here, send us a Tweet, or post on our Facebook wall. And the more you review and leave thoughtful comments on NewsTrust Baltimore, the more we learn what matters to you.
Each week, we'll point to the focus on the "from the editors" box on the homepage and link you to relevant pages to get started reviewing. We need your help to rate and review specific stories each week, and we also encourage you to post stories from your favorite sources to increase the diversity of the journalism on NewsTrust Baltimore.
Thanks for participating in this experiment!