The coverage, though, is always hooked on a connection to the campus community. “We don’t cover news about the local high schools because we don’t find it particularly relevant to the campus community, for example,” he added. And the Daily’s Ann Arbor coverage is limited because “many student reporters aren’t interested in city coverage, they don’t have cars, and many of our readers only want University coverage.”

Hufford did check AnnArbor.com regularly for local stories that the Daily might have missed. Readers hungry for news about the city might need to do the same—checking in regularly on multiple sources, each with their own strengths and limitations.

“Finding the best Ann Arbor news is more complicated,” he said. “AnnArbor.com and its current reincarnation do provide the most complete coverage but there are also a number of small independent news sites to fill in the gaps: Everything from the Ann Arbor Chronicle for city government coverage to Damn Arbor for its funny commentary. … There seems to be room in Ann Arbor for more city coverage: there is a large Twitter presence for many people in the city and every AnnArbor.com article had lots of comments.”

What might that future local coverage look like? If Dickson has anything to say about it, it will be forward-looking, rather than infused with a too-rosy view of the former Ann Arbor News.

“It was never that good of a paper to begin with,” he said. “When you look at the amount of great local coverage it produced, it probably was a two-day a week paper.”

Correction: This article originally misstated a detail of James David Dickson’s work history. The relevant sentence has been corrected. CJR regrets the error.

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Anna Clark is CJR's correspondent for Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A 2011 Fulbright fellow, Clark has written for The Guardian, Grantland, and Salon; blogs at Isak; and can be found on Twitter @annaleighclark. She lives in Detroit.