My boss, Janet Mason, sent me this Miami Herald article earlier today.  In it, David Bohrman of CNN was speaking about the state of our industry at the same conference Laurie Cirivello of CMC and the Foundation’s Roberta King attended to discuss how to launch the Neighborhood News Bureaus.

I want to quote just one small part of the article, in which I think Bohrman hit it on the head:

”Local newscasts, when they’re good, are the centerpiece at most stations,” he argues. “And I think that there’s a largely untapped mother lode of hyper-local information that stations can use to good effect. You want to know if that road two blocks over is under repair, if you’ll be able to get to Safeway or not. I’m intrigued by that. I don’t see anyone seriously accessing it yet, but someone will.”

Hyper-local information is what these bureaus should be able to help the community find out what is happening around the corner to such a level traditional media cannot.

Bohrman also discussed how the media should embrace social networking tools and not be afraid.  Personally, I have found the best way to understand and embrace is to jump in.  6 months ago, I was not the bloggin’, twittin’, Facebookin’, LinkedIn’er (?) I am today!  And, frankly, I feel a lot more connected because of it.

   I was recently asked to be a part of something I think could begin a new chapter in how the local media covers Greater Grand Rapids.

   Tomorrow afternoon, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Community Media Center are holding an early afternoon meeting.  The purpose: to discuss how to use a Knight Foundation grant to create neighborhood news bureaus throughout the city and how that content should be distributed.

     At a time when many big media organizations are working through the most difficult economic times we have faced in our careers, it’s going to be refreshing to figure how to use new dollars to better our coverage of the community!

    Look for pictures and more tomorrow evening.  If you read this and have ideas, send them to me or the two organizers of the project:

Roberta King, from the Foundation.   rking@grfoundation.org or Laurie Cirivello of the CMC   laurie@grcmc.org