Doc says that blogging is provisional. I take it that this is because it's part of a conversation. I can understand how he's saddened by the loss of the one good paper in his town, and the overall trend of the demise of local news. He's searching hard for technology, the net, or even smart mobs to replace it... he's searching in vain. The way we consume "news", is, in fact, the problem.
Cool hunting continous partial attention just isn't going to replace local news, no matter how you aggregate it. I'm never going to replace the local reporter with a beat to cover. Using technorati, digg, metafilter, or friends who forward me amusing links isn't going to do it either.
No matter how you slice or dice it... local news requires someone dedicated to the local beat. A real, live human being, who can always find other, more amusing things to do. So, we need to encourage all of the good local reporting we find. We also need to actively seek it out, and patronize it.
It turns out, the way this works in the blog-o-sphere is one already overlooked as old news.... hyperlinks and blogrolls. The fact is that what we pay attention to determines what we find. If we take the time to keep our reading lists reasonable, and up to date, we'll find a lot of value that we'd otherwise miss trolling digg for the next new thing.
I started this post last night, and as typical for Doc... he somehow does a zen reply to a post before I've even written it... today he writes about finding value via Ronni Bennet's favorites list... and behold, the circle is complete.
The act of blogging, and keeping your blogroll and web site up to date are creative. Sucking down RSS feeds and cool hunting are consumptive. It's better to create.
Doc, the replacement for local newspapers is blogs and blogrolls... the tools still need work, and we still need to find social incentives to appreciate quality, and reward effort... but you've already found the answer... you just don't know it yet.