It’s something every journalism student will gripe with, even before leaving college—where are the best places to conduct reporting? What are the advantages of writing for big cities? What are the advantages of writing for small towns?
Large metropolitan areas such as New York City and Los Angeles are at the lead of a charging herd when it comes to new trends and different ideas for journalism.
New York City is a hub for new media and novel ways to get a story across. A young journalist taking an interest in multimedia reporting would be wise to choose New York City to start in. The Water Dance, a multimedia feature story put together by New York Times Photographer Bill Cunningham, exemplifies the multimedia approach many New York City reporters are taking. New York Times’s One in 8 Million was also created with the purpose of taking a new approach to feature story writing. Both of these features combine images, audio and creativity. Entire publications, such as amNY, work to maintain a fresh, intriguing appearance that readers will enjoy.
New York is not the only city to try out new and experimental ideas in journalism. In September 2009, Los Angeles reporter Rich Hammond made a previously unheard of career move. Hammond was hired by the L.A. Kings to be the team’s personal news reporter. The spread of this trend in the future seems to be likely. Hammond’s career choice gained popularity in the Los Angeles area. Reporter Paul Oberjuerge noted in his article that one traveling writer is typically assigned to many sports teams. “All those franchises are one layoff away from being in the same hurt locker the L.A. Kings found themselves in,” Oberjuerge said.
When starting out in journalism and scoping out cities, small towns should not be discredited.
Arianne Baadsgaard Cope wrote about her personal transition from dreams of doing journalism in New York to moving to Tremonton, Utah to write for the local paper. Cope gives the impression in her blog that it’s an experience she wouldn’t trade the world for. She touches on the fact that a town such as Tremonton is so far away from big metropolitan areas that bigger papers don’t circulate to its population. “I quickly discovered that if I didn’t write about an issue, no one would,” said Cope.
In small towns, every issue is a big issue. It may not be a reporter’s first choice to work for a paper serving a population of hundreds instead of thousands. Reporters should think not about the size of the community but the activity level and attitudes of those in the community. In many situations, every aspect of a small town is so important that any story will be big. It is also characteristic of a small town to have very active and politically involved citizens since each individual issue is so important.