Just saw that the Chicago Tribune is following Bakersfield’s Northwest Voice and taking citizen content contributed online and then freeze-drying it into a print publication it is distributing in a handful of suburbs.
I’m jealous. I always wanted to do something like this when I was involved with local papers.
I think there are also more ways to push the model, some I hope we can discuss at the networked jouralism conference we’re having at CUNY on Oct. 10. For example:
You don’t need to have everything come to you at the site, Backfence-like. You can go to the local bloggers and get news from their blogs. You can encourage them to do more and get more bloggers to blog. You can pay them to encourage them to contribute what you need (it’ll be cheaper than paying staff and they won’t complain as much). The bloggers can perhaps take charge of organizing the news in the community and you help them. You make the product the center of a hyperlocal ad netework, which any of the participants can sell into.
The start of something small. And that could be big.