The Salida Citizen is an interesting experiment in online community news, and it’s generated a great deal of good, solid coverage of Chaffee County’s Nestle water-extraction controversey.
To gain a sense of the arc of the Nestle story in Chaffee County, you can see a list of all the Salida Citizen’s Nestle-related stories here.
While the outcome of Nestle’s water grab in Chaffee County remains in doubt, the Salida Citizen is a good example of a community-driven news site that’s serving an increasingly important purpose.
Activists facing Nestle in their small town sometimes write and bemoan the slanted coverage provided by their local newspapers, which (like larger newspapers) are suffering the effects of the economy and increased reliance on the Internet for news.
Nestle buys ads in local papers (often large ads), promises more in the future, and it’s difficult for publishers to ignore that reality. In some cases, that bias plays out in an uncritical acceptance of Nestle’s PR spin as news – or an under-representation of opposing viewpoints at public meetings.
In others, the bias is more pronounced, extending outward from the editorial pages.
Even in the best of circumstances, Nestle’s fulltime on-the-ground operatives simply have more access to media.
With residents already running headlong into Nestle’s PR legions and their fulltime on-the-ground operatives, dealing with an unfriendly media is simply one more indignity.