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Written by MGP student researcher Jennifer Heshion, University of Massachusetts, May 2009
For the love of sports and her community, Angie Bado turned to the Internet to provide the residents of McKinney, Texas with more in-depth local news coverage by founding McKinney News, a strictly online news source providing up to the minute news and features.
Having lived in the Texan community for many years, Bado said she recognized the restrictions for local news coverage. Feeling that the other news outlets in nearby Dallas were not giving her hometown the attention it deserved, she said she sought alternative mediums to pick up where they had failed.
"Our community has grown from about 20,000 people when I first came here to about 90,000 people and it occurred to me there was a need for better news coverage," said Bado.
Bado, who has a degree in education from Bethany College in West Virginia is the former Head Football Coach at McKinney North High School. She began using the Internet to cover local sports, thereby founding McKinney Sports in August 2005. Eventually expanding her sports coverage to include headline news, McKinneysports.net officially became McKinneynews.net in August 2006.
"I'm a news junkie," she said. "I'm passionate in thinking people should be well-informed. I wanted to bring local news coverage to a higher level for our community. I thought there was an untapped medium for people to discuss things in the community."
To date McKinneynews.net has registered 25,000 readers among the thousands of other anonymous readers and the bloggers who comment and post on the website. Bado, who is the President of McKinneynews.net, said she believes the website is making a difference. Being able to talk to local politicians and school districts, for example, she said the public is responding to the depth of news coverage in McKinney and taking advantage of the Internet.
"I think the positive about the Internet is that it is accessible 24/7, both from the consumer standpoint and the publisher standpoint," she said.
Having originally considered buying a local newspaper, Bado said she opted for the web because she was wary of the decrease in popularity of newspapers amongst consumers. Recognizing that the public has, for the most part, turned to online news for the latest headlines, she said she has seen some indication that there is an interest in online advertising. The key, she said, is to figure out a way to make money online so that in the future, the form of traditional journalism we have been accustomed to, will not be eradicated but will evolve with the times.
In regards to the future of McKinneynews.net, Bado said she hopes to expand the website and divide the content into specific neighborhood sections thus providing even more in-depth coverage. In order to do this she said she realizes the website will need a larger staff which she hopes to expand by hiring interns this fall.
"McKinneynews.net has certainly been a success," she said. "It has been a creative challenge, but for me, it has been much more fun."