Northside Chronicle Editor Ashlee Green on Hyper-Local Journalism


Northside Chronicle logo

Sam Bisno, Editor-in-Chief

Especially given today’s political climate, the word “media” likely brings to mind the nationwide behemoths — Fox News, The Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, and so many others. But media exists on a spectrum; in fact, some of the highest quality reporting is done in local newspapers, where so often there exists a certain level of intimacy that nationally syndicated publications are unable to replicate. One such paper is The Northside Chronicle. As a resident of Pittsburgh’s Northside and aspiring journalist, I was thrilled to interview Managing Editor Ashlee Green about the Chronicle as well as hyper-local journalism in general.

Sam Bisno: For those who are unaware, can you tell us a bit about the Chronicle and its mission?

Ashlee Green: The Northside Chronicle was founded in 1985 as the community newspaper of Pittsburgh’s Northside. The Northside is comprised of 18 diverse neighborhoods and we provide hyper-local reportage on people, places, businesses, events, and developments in the Northside. We are online, but our primary focus is our free, monthly print publication. We help to bridge the “digital divide” that often exists between people who have access to news and information via the internet and those who have limited or no access to the internet. I think it’s really easy to assume everyone has the internet these days, when in fact, it’s actually a privilege.

SB: What does your day-to-day look like?

AG: My schedule varies depending on where we are in our monthly production cycle. At the beginning of the month, I am typically in the office by 9:00 a.m. checking my email and researching story ideas. Mid-month, I am interviewing people outside of the office, working on a handful of my own stories, and editing intern and contributor work. At the end of the month, I design the layout of the newspaper. Once it’s printed, the Advertising Manager, Lauren Stauffer, and I hand deliver all 8,000 copies to local businesses and newspaper boxes.

SB: What are the things that your readers like about the Chronicle?

AG: I think readers can count on The Northside Chronicle because it’s been around since the ’80s. The Northside itself is a historic, diverse, and eclectic place, and our paper captures its charm.

SB: What are some of the challenges associated with operating the Chronicle?

AG: Our biggest challenge is that we’re a two-person staff, so, unfortunately, we can’t cover every story we’d like to. Our interns and volunteer contributors are a big help to the paper’s success.

SB: How do you think that operating a hyper-localized paper such as the Chronicle differs from operating a citywide, statewide, or nationwide one?

AG: With a hyper-localized paper like ours, a lot of our stories develop from conversations we’ve had through word of mouth, from being out and about and active in the community. People trust us because of that. Larger papers, I think, don’t often have that level of integration.

SB: Do you have any advice for aspiring young journalists?

AG: Develop your social skills, which will automatically develop your interviewing skills. Start by reading How to Talk with Practically Anybody about Practically Anything by Barbara Walters.

Many thanks to Ms. Green for taking the time to answer our questions. Click here to access the Chronicle.