Alternative media in Alpharetta

Today marks the second anniversary of Roots in Alpharetta. It’s been a fun two years and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the conversations and friendships that have resulted from writing. While most blog readers probably don’t care much for anniversaries like this, I’d beg your indulgence a bit today. It’s this occasion coupled with the new year that makes me a bit reflective.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from writing in 2011 it is this – there is a role for alternative local media in Alpharetta. You’d think citizens would be covered for most newsworthy events that might happen. Atlanta is home to several TV stations and the AJC. We’ve got weekly newspapers such at the Revue & News, the Alpharetta Neighbor and Forsyth News. And don’t forget hyper-local online media such as The Patch that run lean and nimble news gathering operations.

Yet even with dozens of news rooms covering our area, some stories simply don’t get reported on. What stories are these local media outlets missing? Sometimes it is community buzz. Perhaps it’s a new restaurant that opened featuring a talented young chef. It might be about crime or violence that disrupt the peace in an otherwise safe suburb. Maybe it’s a question not being asked of candidates running for public office. Or it could be the back-story, the narrative behind the news that uncovers details or motives not clearly visible from the surface.

Why are journalists missing these stories? I don’t think it is deliberate although that could be a possibility. Some editors and publishers are not willing print the entire story for one reason or another. It could be that they are not using technology to listen to community chatter. Or it might be because of gaps in news cycles.

Roots in Alpharetta is certainly not exclusive when it comes to local alternative media. Other local blogs (many are in my blog roll) do outstanding work in their own respective ways. Bob Strader did a tremendous job on his blog last year reporting on school redistricting in north Fulton and Forsyth. He took a deep-dive into the issue, reporting on how redistricting effected families at the neighborhood and even street level. No other news source came close to his level of detail.

Whatever the story might be or the reason behind not reporting it, hyper-local bloggers have a role to play. It isn’t my desire to be a journalist. However, I’m more than willing to report on a story that isn’t being told for one reason or another. Sometimes it takes a local blogger to scoop a story before a news room will run with it. That’s a role I’ll gladly fill if that’s what it takes to get stories told in our community.

Thanks for reading Roots in Alpharetta in 2011 and happy New Year!

Photo Credit: RogueSun Media (creative commons)

3 Responses to “Alternative media in Alpharetta”

  1. a.e. mayer January 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    I think this is an exciting and valid post relating to off-the-beaten path media. It gets me going because I’m a former journalist who, like you, spun off to do my own thing. I cover the world now from the PR side and spend the rest of my time making up stories for books, but blogging fits into both. My blog is more a series of essays meant to entertain, a pet project that I work on for fun, but I appreciate blogs like yours that are as comprehensive and well edited as any great local magazine. It’s a lot of work, and you do it well.

    At the dawn of blogging, everyone in the news world was scratching their heads over what the new little demon was and whether it would cripple notions of what’s really newsworthy. Fears of “non-professionals” taking the reins had official news gurus in cold sweats as to who’s reliable to decide what’s news and then report on it accurately. Time has evened things out, showing that blogging can be an effective way to spread information and that even people who “just blog” can be as valid, trusted, and honorable as official journalists who have figuratively put their hand on the good book and sworn to take up the cause and the calling. This blog, which covers relevant stuff that matters to folks, is living proof. It gives residents and readers another reliable option for information consumption.

    Though I’m not enthralled by our official local media outlets, I do have to take up a flag for my former comrades who sweat it out in the newsrooms. Many of them are delightful, bright, passionate people who face a world that isn’t picking up the paper like it once did. Staring down off-balance bottom lines and an office quickly thinning with layoffs, I think that most of the local papers and mags just shrug and do the best they can. They keep calm, and carry on.

    But blogs like yours are a delight because they add an edge to current events and, as you said, shine a little extra light on some gems that likely wouldn’t be covered elsewhere (or, if covered, not thoroughly enough). Because you’re not a journalist, you can also add a little snap crackle pop to stories that the pros often can’t, with the added blessing of being able to mix in common sense as you see fit.

    I guess that’s a mini essay detailing my thoughts on blogging, although it seems to have come out more like an ode. Bottom line is that blogging is a great tool in the right hands, and I think Roots is a stellar example.

  2. Lee January 4, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    Thanks for the comment and the kind words. I’ve met a lot of these guys in the newsroom and I agree. They are by and large really cool folks who work hard.

  3. Kim January 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    Competition is always a win for the consumer. Thank you for your dedication and hard work, Lee.

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