Yes, Facebook hit some technical glitch earlier this week and wasn't delivering us our daily serves of humour, connection with family and friends (near and far), and news.

I'm a self-confessed social media addict. I love the quick hit of likes on my latest cute pic of my kids or dog, or someone admiring the rare decent shot I took of a Kai Iwi beach sunset, or people engaging in one of my many political posts.

But is Facebook really the place for news?

Why should we care whether we read our news online, shared by a friend, with a comment, or the old fashioned way, in a paper picked up from the letterbox each morning.


Aren't there advantages in getting our news online, immediately, tailored to our interests thanks to our friends sharing what they know we like?

Well, yes. There are many advantages in this. The fundamental definition of news relates to timeliness – getting it fast matters. But it's not all coming up roses.

Our news industry is under financial pressure to survive, and has been for some time. It costs to bring together quality stories, written by professional journalists. So what happens as subscribers drop off, as printed papers become last century? How do we pay for the news, particularly local stories?

There are a range of options, from charitable trusts to Government funding, and of course the commercial model. There are more sponsored content and advertorial deals, sometimes blurring the lines between news and promotions, but also getting stories published. People are subscribing for online exclusive content or directly funding modern (and traditional) news services as micro-patrons.

Sure, we sometimes get a gem from our friends' Facebook feeds, or local chat groups, but often those posts are less than half the real story. They can be misleading or confusing. They don't often have balance – they're just one person's view, and perhaps that person isn't always straight with the truth.

We might get part of the story quickly and we might be getting it personally delivered from people we know, but it's not the same. We're not getting the benefit of someone putting information in context, asking the hard questions, doing the research to put it all together, highlighting issues for the public good – not just their own point of view.

What about the so-called "fake news"? I feel like the naming of fake news has turned into a strategy to undermine quality news (yes, Mr Trump, I'm thinking of you).

Part of the problem is the increased profile of media commentators and news hosts, which has confused what we think of as journalism. This piece you're reading now is only an opinion. I'm a columnist writing down my thoughts for (apparently) some level of entertainment value. Talkback and breakfast TV hosts may be former journalists in some cases, but they're not undertaking journalism when they're sharing their controversial personal views.

There are still good people out there, like those I went to journalism school with all those years ago, motivated to tell stories that matter. Fighting for the underdog, punching up not punching down, speaking truth to power, whatever you call it – your average journalist is about standing up for the little guy.

That's the beauty of our local news stories as well. Imagine if we didn't have our local paper? If we only got stories from out of town – non-stop Auckland housing market stories with no local context? What if we had to chase down the local council or police or WINZ office or hospital ourselves to find out what's gone wrong?

Let's get real about relying on giant tech companies for our real news. It's not a good strategy. They're into dominating the market, getting clicks, and maybe even trading our personal data.

What are you prepared to sacrifice for easy fast news? And what are you prepared to pay to keep it local?

Nicola Patrick is a councillor at Horizons Regional Council, works for Te Kaahui o Rauru and leads a new social enterprise hub, Thrive Whanganui. A mum of two boys, she has a science degree and is a Green Party member.