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Exploring the Concept of Local Again: Why It Means Next To Nothing Most of the Time

Buy local, support local, go local, shop locally… these campaigns have all the potential in the world, but they are normally thin and lack much thought. They sound encouraging and many people see the “local” aspect and believe that just going to a farmer’s market will be enough, that just shopping at an independent bookstore will be enough. Where does the bookstore stock their books from? Where does the flower shop get their flowers?

An even better scenario in my mind is news. We all know about national news, USA TODAY, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, PBS. Then there are specific yet national news sources, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, entertainment news such as People, or cooking such as Bon Appetit. There are really national and then even state sources for news.

In Iowa we frequently consider the Des Moines Register, or Iowa Public Radio to report on state-wide issues. Then we reach the local television, radio, newspaper sources. This is where we discover many ideas of the local. Local can embrace themselves as such, or strive to be what they are not.

What do I mean?

I constantly tell authors that have a new book out that they should practically demand that their local radio and newspaper do a story on them. After all, some author are natives of their hometown, have lived and shared their life with those around them if the so-called local paper is not the one to do a piece on them then they have truly failed their calling. There are lines to be drawn of course involving quality and perhaps repetition of actions. Too many activities can go one of two ways, the same thing over and over thus the newsworthiness maybe gone.

Or, a local region and can embrace the commitment that a local citizen has shown for where they live that rather than ignoring them we should exalt in what they do. There are a variety of excuses the local news goes through to avoid doing what they are intended for, often I think they don’t even notice they are behaving inappropriately.

In the end I guess I praise the local news as a way to discover how “local” your community is. Does your local paper include mostly national events, try and behave in a “national” ways, or do they embrace the unique details that make the local the most important details of our everyday lives. Do they celebrate the heroic lives of those we live beside?

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