Beyond coffee, cigarettes, and the morning paper: Building hyperlocal news systems & engaging community


MinneBar 5 (22 May 2010)
This is not a panel.


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If it's not completely clear yet, the actual "paper" forms of the morning, afternoon, and evening newspapers will cease to exist sooner rather than later. Yes, it's wonderful to read the New York Times in bed on a Sunday morning but we can't sustain both the real and the environmental cost of getting that paper to your bed when we have an Internet primed for free delivery to a screen of your choice.

In this session, I want to discuss community news dissemination at the hyperlocal level. I can share what I'm doing today with the Seward Profile in the Minneapolis Seward Neighborhood and what I want to do. I hope to get new ideas and feedback from you. Can we rebuild the twenty-first century news infrastructure from the bottom up? What else besides news is a strong online neighborhood presence good for? (I'm thinking reflecting the fabric of the community itself and creating an ongoing documentary of its life force.) Can we create a system of distributed hyperlocal sites and share ways of engaging community and kick-starting crowd-sourcing? Can we mashup existing tools and create new services to benefit everyone? (Jon Udell's Elm City project) What are some of the tools we can work with? How can we actually engage community to step beyond reading to writing and posting? Can it all be done at very low cost and not rely on advertising?

To prime the pump, you can check out my proposal submitted to the Knight News Challenge last year. It fell just short of the final fifty for funding. It's still very much a work-in-progress.

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