Last Updated Aug 19, 2008 7:53 AM EDT But, first, to one of the most exciting online experiments I've seen in action for quite a while. One of the questions hanging over all newspaper sites is how to preserve local news in this time of rapid change. The Chicago Sun-Times has partnered with EveryBlock.com, which allows users to find out about everything from new building permits to crime reports by pinpointing addresses. EveryBlock pitches itself as a "geographic filter" that provides a "news feed" for your neighborhood, eventually, perhaps your block. The service provides public records from government databases, news articles from multiple sources, plus blog entries, Flickr photos, Craigslist entries, and user reviews of local businesses via Yelp. It's still at a relatively early state of development, but in my view EveryBlock has enormous potential. So far it covers five cities: besides Chicago, it can be used in New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and San Francisco. A few other … [Read more...] about EveryBlock: A New Model for Local News?
Last Updated Sep 24, 2008 5:06 PM EDT Chris Tolles, CEO of Topix, doesn't think much of journalists. "There's a lot of arrogance among journalists, as if they are performing a public service. Their job should be to get lots of audience attention and engagement. Period." Never mind that three of Tolles's major investors are Gannett, McClatchy and the Tribune Co., representing the largest newspaper chains in the country. He's seen the future of news, and here's how it looks: "There will be three tiers, if you will. One will be journalists, because they won't all go away; two will be bloggers, essentially; and three will be the commentarians." It's this third tier that Tolles is betting his business on. Topix has a "zip code search" function that has turned into a sort of virtual chain of local community clusters of comment-posters. Tolles says Topix carries comments from 20,000 cities and towns around the U.S. these days at the rate of 150,000 comments per day. One surprising (to me) … [Read more...] about Topix’s CEO on the Future of “Micro-Local” News
Last Updated Dec 4, 2009 1:41 PM EST In the ongoing debate over the future of the media business, especially when it comes to news, the extremes tend to dominate, and not just ideologically."The future is hyper-local." "The future is global." "Algorithms can do it all." (Google News.) "You can't cut your way to growth by laying off reporters." This list could go on, but we've all heard variations of these extremes many times; Hell, I've even uttered at least three of them at one time or another myself, though I've never agreed that algorithms can replace humans. But the answers so many media execs are seeking are probably not going to be found at the extremes, rather somewhere in the middle. They are likely to come from smart pragmatists who value good journalism, understand technology (including its limits), and are committed to developing the user interfaces and business models that serve the shifting information needs of our physical communities now. People like Darian Shirazi, … [Read more...] about Fwix Aggregates Local News, Compensates Bloggers, Filling a Void
Last Updated Jan 18, 2010 5:47 PM EST The San Francisco Bay Area may soon sport an embarrassment of riches, comparatively speaking, in the number and variety of local news organizations competing to fill the void created by waves of cutbacks at the San Francisco Chronicle by the Hearst Corporation over the past couple of years. Over the weekend, BNET Media confirmed that negotiations are continuing between the fledgling "Bay Area News Project" -- funded by billionaire Warren Hellman -- and former Industry Standard editor Jonathan Weber, despite the withdrawal of major partner KQED over what one source describes as "structural, not editorial" issues. The deal to land Weber as editor-in-chief is expected to be finalized within a week. He is expected to be tasked not only with "re-inventing the metro news model," according to one knowledgeable source, but to pursue "enterprise reporting," as well as relationships with "local bloggers" and citizen journalists. Sources indicate that the … [Read more...] about As Hellman Project Details Emerge, KALW Launches A Local News Website
Here’s a business question: How can a company operate at the same level after slashing as much as two-thirds of its staff? The answer, it seems, will be played out by Patch, the once-vaunted network of hyper-local news websites that AOL (AOL) sold to Hale Global earlier this month. Employees were informed via a Wednesday conference call that the service was being restructured, according to a transcript of the call published by Jim Romenesko. “Hale Global has decided which Patch employees will receive an offer of employment to move forward in accordance with their vision for Patch, and which will not,” said Patch chief operating officer Leigh Zarelli Lewis, according to the transcript. And to the unlucky group: “Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated and you will no longer have a role at Patch and today will be your last day of employment with the company. …Thank you again and best of luck.” While as many as two-thirds of … [Read more...] about After sale from AOL, the Patch local news network lays off hundreds