But these complaints aside, the reality seems to be that this loose network is filling the news gap, with or without the help of Patch or The Huffington Post. As The Bee and the other professional organizations continue to retreat, this loose network of citizen journalists will continue to grow out of a public necessity to stay connected with the community, and they will continue to improve their quality in order to keep followers and gain acceptance as information sources. It’s even possible that they could become the primary news source in the region, if the professional news outlets continue their decline into obsolescence.

News marches on, even in cities like Modesto, even if the major players don’t.

This piece is part of CJR’s Nov/Dec 2011 roundtable discussion of the future of news in Modesto, California, and places like it. For more on the topic, click here.

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Patrick Giblin graduated from Thomas Downey High School in Modesto and worked as a Modesto Bee reporter for 16 years. He currently is the media relations manager for University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, forty-five miles north of Modesto.