Tracy and her husband Patrick are the publishers of the West Seattle Blog, one of the hyperlocal weblogs that have proved it is possible to make a living from community journalism in a neighborhood or small town. She has been identified as one of the communicators who is finding ways of making sense of news as a business by people like the Poynter Institute — she is part of their Sense-Making Project — and the News Innovation program at CUNY.The economic crisis and the change in the way we share information have accelerated a situation that most of the media has refused to accept: the end of big editorial structures and advertising as a huge source of revenue for journalism.
While most of the industry is waiting for a revolutionary shift to a completely new business model for what we call journalism — or maybe we should just call it “telling stories that matter” — people like Tracy Record are succeeding in being revolutionary by using common sense and a small structure to apply their “old journalism” knowledge to the new online world.
In this video interview, Tracy explains the journey that took the West Seattle Blog from a hobby to a full-time job that provides the sole source of income for her family. She also talks about the roots of the Legacy Media crisis, why online ventures are still not profitable for big journalism outlets, and the key to her success.
Finally, a tip from Tracy to those who may be thinking of creating a media site for their neighborhood or small town: “Know how your neighborhood works, and make sure that your audience is really underserved.”