Newspaper Threatened by Community Website

Romenesko points us to an interesting story from Montana… A local journalism school has launched a community driven website to cover the news of the local Crow Indian Reservation. This is who is running the site:

“It is produced by tribal members, people involved with communities on the Crow Reservation and the Rural News Network at the University of Montana’s School of Journalism.”

Yet, the newspaper that also covers this area is crying foul. Wes Eben, publisher of the Big Horn County News responds:

“The project’s instructors failed to consider how the project websites might impact the bottom line of newspapers like his, which he says devotes about 60 percent of its coverage to the Crow Indian Reservation. In short, the Crow Reservation is not an underserved market, he says.”

“He contends that despite the journalism school’s honorable intent to train journalists, “They are sending them out to undermine and destroy the very newspapers that will be hiring them.”

As community-driven websites pop up and compete with local media, it will be interesting to see how this affects the business model of journalism.