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Christopher R. Weingarten

Christopher R. Weingarten is Senior Editor at Spin. His work has appeared in The Village Voice (where he pens the twice-weekly local-music column Yes In My Backyard), Revolver, Nylon, RollingStone.com and elsewhere. He is the author of two books: a study of Public Enemy's iconic It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (via Continuum) and the adorable social anthropology study Hipster Puppies (via NAL/Penguin).

 

Abstract:

"All Internet Is Local? The Meaning Of "Local Music Coverage" In The Pageview Era"

The media world's ever-speedier shift toward online content—particularly the accompanying encroachment of increasingly precise measurement tools that can give a snapshot of how many people are and aren't looking at a particular web page at any moment—has affected journalistic practices at their core. By swarming certain topics while staying away from others, readers now act as de facto assignment editors, cluing journalists in on what they want—and, crucially, don't want—to read about, and ultimately bring revenue to. This crunch is particularly noticeable in the world of music journalism, where readers tend to flock to known quantities, funny lists, or news on artists with some sort of "controversial" bent. It's even more acutely felt by those journalists trying to balance the idea of covering a local music scene filled with fledgling or under-the-radar bands and the demands involved with accruing enough eyeballs to not incur scrutiny by the bean-counters.

How can editors balance the demands for revenue-generating pageviews and the idea of serving their local communities? Are local pageviews "better" than national ones? Should musicians go the shock-tactic route and try to become memes in an effort to transcend their geographic standing? Is the Internet becoming its own "local scene"? The panelists heading up this roundtable are journalists from markets large and small who have had weary showdowns with Google Analytics, but we encourage musicians, readers, and other people interested in the current state of local scenes to enter the fray.