Starting today, you can read not only the Independent—but a book about the Independent, and other experiments around the country to reinvent local journalism online.
The new book, The Wired City: Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-Newspaper Age by Dan Kennedy, was released Friday by University of Massachusetts Press. It focuses primarily on the Independent with detours to the Naugatuck Valley, Hartford (CT News Junkie & the CT Mirror), San Diego, and Batavia, N.Y.. (You can buy it here.)
And you have several opportunities in coming weeks to hear the author—an assistant journalism prof at Northeastern University, former columnist for the Guardian, and a nationally renowned media columnist for the late Boston Phoenix—discuss the book and his guarded optimism about the future of local journalism. Kennedy will appear live Monday morning at 9 a.m. on John Dankosky’s WNPR Where We Live program along with Independent Editor Paul Bass.
Kennedy is coming to New Haven’s Institute Library at 7 p.m. on June 13 for a book talk and signing along with some Independent folks; click here for details on that free event at 847 Chapel St. Meanwhile, he spoke about the book in an interview for a site called New Books in Journalism: click here and scroll down to click on a podcast of that interview.
Kennedy spent quite a bit of time here in New Haven from 2009 through early 2011 observing the Independent at work, studying the city, and interviewing people all over town. (He’s shown at left in the above photo interviewing Tom Scott at the Independent’s fifth-birthday party in 2010.)
He emerged optimistic about the possibility for low-budget, professional not-for-profit online news sites to fill gaps in local reporting and engage their local communities in new ways, in the wake of years of cutbacks to monopoly print daily newspapers in many American cities. He doesn’t see the new breed of sites as the answer to journalism’s woes. (Click here, here and here to check out some terrific not-for-profit sites that have sprung up in the years since we launched the Independent in 2005.) He portrays the breed as one of a host of “promising model[s] of how to provide members of the public with the information they need in a self-governing society,” in the words of the book’s promotional materials.
It was a pleasure for us at the Independent to spend time with Dan Kennedy and watch him produce a book with such depth, intelligence, heart, independent distance, and fairness. It left us optimistic about the future of book publishing.