Tuesday, April 05, 2005

NYU School of Journalism's Jay Rosen on local happenings

What's in PressThink's Pocket? Citizen Journalism!

4. The 101 sites spread. Will there soon be a network of local switchboards? First there was Greensboro 101, a local blog directory that became a local portal site, a natural competitor, and possible partner to the local newspaper site. Then there was Charlotte 101, kind of a franchise deal with Charlotte bloggers Dave Beckwith and Darryl Parker to do a similar thing. Now, cleverly timed to BlogNashville, there is Nashville 101, the third operation from Roch Smith, Jr., founder of Greensboro101.com. See my earlier interview with him. ("I've been contacted by media people wanting to replicate the Greensboro101 concept in other cities.") He e-mailed me with his expanded strategy:

Our plan is to provide turn-key 101s for individuals or groups who wish to operate one in their city. We have over 200 [cityname]101 domain names registered and plan to promote them as local citizen media cites through cities101.com (not up yet).

In addition to gearing up to roll out more cities, we are in the process of developing an ad system that will not only coordinate the placement of advertising on the 101s (the revenue from which will be shared with the participating operators ), but that will also allow participation by local bloggers who will also share in the revenue. The idea is to create geographically targeted online advertising opportunities that can sustain localized citizens media to the very end of the long tail.

And so we can squint and see a local infrastructure in place, nationally. Not that Smith is going to corner the market any time soon. There are many similar sites going in other cities, and each one may be considered a potential contender with the local newspaper in the race for a Journalism 2.0 approach that works. See PhillyFuture for one example. SanDiegoBlog for another. Here's one in Vancouver.

In Journalism 2.0 (the way I explain it to myself) the People Formerly Known as the Audience, safely considered "consumers" during one era, are more involved in production. Interactivity makes daily journalism into a better, faster learning machine, which means it can improve its accuracy many times over. And in the 2.0 era new ways to pay for good work emerge from a variety of directions-- the media industry is only one, and not the most likely solution.

Civic entrepreneurs like Roch Smith, Jr.--who are paid in influence, and the satisfaction of seeing your creation thrive--are equally likely to have good answers to the puzzles presented by Journalism 2.0. With most in the industry unwilling to spend, the need for experiment and innovation is being met from outside.

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