All Politics is Local

Tip O’Neill, a former US Speaker of the House coined the phrase, “All politics is local.” This idea, that political success is intertwined with one’s ability to influence their voters, is also caricatured in news. The success of a news organization stems from an idea of localization. It stems from the phrase, “bringing the news home.” Journalism serves a community. Routine, micro-targeted neighborhood reporting is the key to success, and is ultimately transforming community news.

Before I relocated to Brisbane for university, I lived in Grafton, Northern NSW. My local news provider was the Daily Examiner, an award winning newspaper. In the textbook, Reporting in a Multimedia World, (which happens to be a compulsory text for my JOUR1112 course) has a case studying, investigating how to grow an news audience. The Daily Examiner is used as the example. As a regional media source, the Daily Examiner itself is embedded into the community. The Daily Examiner won the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers’ Award newspaper of the year in 2010. This was because of their success in ‘growing an audience’. Peter Chapman said, “I think the success of any paper is the connection with the community. A paper has to show compassion, be caring, honest, and totally open in what it does…”

On the 10th of March, the Daily Examiner published an article, talking about Joseph Kony; the evil Ugandan warlord, and head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Kony’s story went viral on the 8th of March, receiving sixteen million hits on a YouTube video, which I’ve posted above. The Daily Examiner’s article on Kony didn’t just talk about the horror of the man, or the statistics, like the Courier Mail or the Sydney Morning Herald, they interviewed the Grafton man,  Emma Ocholla, who was directly enrolled in the conflict years ago. Mr Ocholla was on a bus when he was confronted by the LRA. The bus driver was shot by the guerrilla’s AK47’s. He escaped due to an old friendship with one of the militia’s. He could’ve been ‘Jacob’; the boy in Jason Russel’s ‘Kony2012’ video, who’s story isn’t so forgiving. Mr Ocholla is encouraging the people of the Clarence Valley to support the “Invisible Children’ cause “in order to raise awareness of the LRA and bring the indicted war criminal to justice.”

This is localisation. This is success.

“All politics is local.”

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