In a media marketplace that is too often timid, golocalprov stands out.
The on-line news operation, now a year-and-a-half old, trades in big pictures and big headlines — Investigation! Exclusive!
Sometimes the stories merit the hype, often they do not. But golocal, run by hard-charging public relations man Josh Fenton, is unmistakably ambitious.
The latest effort, now a month old, is GoLocalTV — a weekday, four- to-seven-minute TV-on-the-Internet broadcast starring youthful anchor-reporters Greg Berman and Lauren Marchetti.
Production values are not the program's strong suit: the anchors stand before a brick wall; some of the arts features have a canned feel to them; a funny little guitar lick opens the broadcasts.
There is, in short, a heavy dollop of "Wayne's World" here.
But Fenton says the broadcast, which goes up at 4 pm on weekdays and is available on-demand, is getting "better and better" every day. "There's no book," he says, "on how you do a daily broadcast on an all-digital platform."
Viewership is modest — GoLocalTV's first 22 broadcasts got about 60,000 views, Fenton says — but trending upwards. The site is selling brief advertisements. And the newscast gets points for avoiding the mindless "if it bleeds, it leads" fare that holds sway on television.
A recent piece on whether Rhode Island's big bet on wind-powered energy would pay off had an amateur look to it — GoLocal ran printed quotes from several sources rather than on-camera interviews. But the story, at least, took on a serious issue. And it was infused with a healthy skepticism.
The trouble with GoLocalTV, thus far — and this seems to be the problem for all of GoLocal's endeavors — is that it lacks the resources to match its ambitions.
The resource problem, of course, is one that plagues the media writ large. Indeed, it may explain the shortcomings of a higher profile web launch in recent weeks: the Providence Journal's new web site.
Providencejournal.com, as I have written in this space, is an improvement on the old projo.com. It is crisper, cleaner. But the eEdition of the paper it offers up — a pdf, with a touch of interactivity — is rather static.
And there is no sign, yet, that the Journal is committed to the rich, interactive storytelling — clickable maps, video interviews with sources, and the like — that some other news sites have explored.
Expecting as much from a diminished paper is, perhaps, on the wishful side. But the Journal is still Rhode Island's media king, its resources far more considerable than those of any other newsgathering outfit — certainly more considerable than those of GoLocal.
If the paper could adopt a little of the start-up's moxie, the state would be better off.