Even with possible Bay Citizen merger, the future is niche journalism

A marriage between the Bay Citizen and the Center for Investigative Reporting is in the works, according to a report this week.

If a deal is struck for the twin non-profit sites of which nobody in the Bay Area actually reads, yet knows about, it would put editor/playboy Phil Bronstein at the helm.

Of course, I’ll never agree with people who say journalism is dying because it’s not. Rich businessmen owning billion media companies who publish newspapers are dying. Ultimately, mega-corporations running community papers really only served themselves and their rich buddies.

The Bay Citizen’s attempt at filling a void that may or may not exist is laudable. It does good work, but as with all things in life when academics and so-ca.lled experts get involved, the end result is a boring product.

When new media consultants enter the building, you’re screwed. It all literally bullshit. People want good stories. They want presented clearly and they want it quickly. If you do all of those things and remember to not be boring, then readers will flock to you.

Ultimately none of these ideas will work. The road to the golden age of journalism is not to replicate the old model of newspapers. Instead, the model they should use is cable television. The newspaper needs to be chopped up into its own sites. None one person should own more than section and there really won’t be a need since the entertainment sections can be sliced a thousands ways as can the sports section.

Folks, niche journalism like the East Bay Citizen is the future. I can cover politics in this area infinitely better than the newspaper and be more cost-effective in my coverage. Four interviews last week with candidates for the 18th assembly district would constitute a single article in the mainstream press. For the East Bay Citizen those chats will culled in the same way the American Indians utilized every piece of the buffalo. They will become the basis for one freelance article in the East Bay Express and, at minimum, eight separate articles for the East Bay Citizen along with countless informational tweets.

The level of information on that race on my site will make the Oakland Tribune and these other non-profits look like the Penny Saver. If the mission is to inform readers, then they cannot and should not survive.