Friday, December 5, 2008

Adam Gaffin's Visit

Back in October, Robin Lubbock of WBUR came to my Reinventing the News Class to discuss new media initiatives within the radio industry. One of the questions that arose from Lubbock and Professor Kennedy had to do with whether or not a station like WBUR could survive with advances like satellite radio and the heavy ratings boost provided by NPR's national content.

In my blog post regarding that visit, I wrote that WBUR would be just fine in the long haul as long as it stuck with it's niche-local coverage. National programming based out of New York or Los Angeles can't provide the same kind of detail and quick response to a story taking place in Boston quite like a station like WBUR can.

The reason I bring this up is because Adam Gaffin has realized that there were always be a demand for good local coverage- something he has illustrated with his blog, Universal Hub. Interestingly enough, Gaffin started the site after he was dissatisfied with the way a major story in his neighborhood was covered.

Universal Hub is a site that aggregates thousands of Boston related blogs and news stories that Gaffin hopes will provide the most comprehensive site for anything Boston.

The great thing about the site is that it provides exactly what Gaffin hopes it will. The site makes sure that every square inch of Boston is covered by some kind of information (you can get news by T stop or neighborhood). The site also does a very good job of sectioning off information, so it isn't hard to find any local blog post regarding topics from crime to the MBTA (a favorite subject of Gaffin's) to the Red Sox.

The thing I really got out of Gaffin's presentation is that he is truly doing this as a service to news consumers from and interested in the city of Boston and the surrounding areas. He has a day job, yet he still maintains this website. Sure he makes money from the site, ($15,000 a year in net profits) but it's not enough to say he's doing it for the money.

I really like Universal Hub, and I'm glad others are taking note. Gaffin mentioned to our class that Channel 7 has recently gotten in touch with him about establishing some kind of partnership. It would be a wise move for WHDH to look into that.

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