Trial Lawyer Tips has a great post about steps to take to before picking a jury in another city, county, or state.
To get familiar with my out of town trial venues, I used to order the local paper several months before trial and read it each day or week. By the time trial rolled around, I knew more about the local news than most of the jurors.
I started using this technique a little over 20 years ago and firmly believe that there is a distinct advantage of going into a "new" venue with some knowledge of community happenings. The Internet has made it easier to get this sort of information.