Monday, March 16, 2009

Rural blog at Anchorage Daily News

I was surprised, and pleased, when I got an e-mail going around that there was a new blog up at the Anchorage Daily News called The Village - about "life and politics in rural Alaska." I wondered how long I'd missed out on it, and found out I got word the very day they started trying to get the word out (Friday) - so it's brand spankin' new.

So far there's some VPSO news, a bit about the 1A and 2A basketball teams in town, crazy village snow pictures, and some other interesting bits. I'm very interested to see where this goes. It's hard to find out news about rural Alaska, especially on a regular basis. You have to visit a bunch of different papers, and a lot of the places (including most that I'm interested in) don't have anything online.

I asked ADN Reporter Kyle Hopkins about it, and he was kind enough to answer me. He said it's something they've been wanting to to do for a long time. His answers below:

Why did ADN start this blog? What need did you see?

It was kind of a natural thing to do. I'd moved from covering City Hall in Anchorage to covering more rural affairs stories, which is what I've always wanted to do at the paper, and didn't really have a place to blog about it. Many of the stories I work on now are a little off topic for the politics blog, and it made sense to start a new page/site.

So, that's more traditional side of it: Blogging news as part of our coverage of a beat, or topic at the paper.

Then the thing that hopefully will make this blog a little different is that -- as much as we can -- we want to be posting info/pictures/video that people send us from around the state.

It could take time to establish that connection. But I really like the idea of people being able to go to one place and maybe listening to an interview with someone from Western Alaska, and seeing photos of a hunt from another village, and reading a letter from another.

How do you see this blog being used? To connect rural people? To let urban people know what's going on in rural Alaska?

Hopefully both. A way for people to tell the rest of the state: "This is what's happening in my community. This is what life in my community looks like."


Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have links to all the rural news at ADN. Used to be difficult to find Eliz. Bluemink's articles and those that end up at AP-wire stories. I hope it doesn't end up as just the "cute news" which tends to predominate the local news media in rural areas, especially Bethel.

Now, what's happening at public radio? APRN was the only source of genuine news for Bethel (even the headlines were usually locally read APRN stories). The interactive component to each story at the website was beginning to take off finally. Unfortunately, Nellie Moore's call-in show was not broadcsat outside Anchorage, but it too dealt with the other end of the urban-rural continuum.

Have we gained one blog but lose one journalist and two newsmedia innovators?

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