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David Cohn talks about

Last month, I interviewed David Cohn about his micro-funded news website  He was candid throughout the interview, admitting that he wasn't sure if the model was working.  You can listen to the audio of the interview (it's a little under twenty minutes) by clicking below, or you can go to his MGP profile for the story and other resources.


Library journal features overview of news-literacy movement and "Reboot" event

Former Media Giraffe Project writer Lena Consolini, who attended "Rebooting the News," in Philadelphia, has authored a roundup on the news-literacy movement for "School Library Journal." The piece mentions Rene Hobbs' Media Education Lab at Temple, Alan Lewis' News Literacy Project (which will begin trials in three schools this spring) and Howie Schneider's work at Stony Brook University.

Four online-news "giraffes" receive Knight grants

Four "giraffes" recently recieved Knight Foundation grants.  The total amount given was $390,000, and the money was awarded to the community news websites to increase local coverage and staff.  In their press release, the Knight Foundation said they wanted "to help find new, sustainable models for delivering news and information in the digital age."

Here are the four recipitants (click to go to their MGP profiles):

Visit to Camden, Maine and Richard Anderson

Last week, Norm Sims and I were in Camden, Maine (the photo is from outside a local restaurant) to interview Richard Anderson from the Village Soup (see his Village Soup bio here, and his MGP profile here).  During the two hour interview, Anderson talked about their search for a sustainability model.  During one moment, he said they were creating a form of a community expo:

Berkman research completes exhaustive study on state of media ecosystem

A year in the making, a researcher at the Berkman Center for the Internet & Society has completed an exhaustive study on the future of American news and social media. Persephone Miel talked to hundreds of people, and criss-crossed the nation to prepare what may be the most comprehensive look to date on the impact of digital technologies on how we get our news and civic information. publishes their first articles

I spoke with David Cohn from last week, and will be putting up the interview and profile soon, but wanted to write a quick message, as is hiring, and they've also put up their first articles.  David Cohn is young--26--and won the Knight News Challenge Grant last year to set up  It's a micro-funded news website based in San Francisco.  You can go to the site, browse the pitches, and give a small amount of money to an article you would like to see written.  The first two completed articles went up yesterday, and you can read them here.  More soon.

Paul Bass - The community embedded journalist - 9 minute video


Paul Bass, editor of The New Haven Independent, talks about his passion for local journalism, the role of journalism in a democracy, and the logistics of running a hyper-local journalism site. Bill Densmore, director of the Media Giraffe Project, interviewed Bass in January 2008.

To view the full one-hour interview, see this page.  See his "giraffe" profile here.

Live video stream from Missouri conference

Media Giraffe Project's Bill Densmore (who is living and working in Missouri this year as a Reynolds Fellow at the University of Missouri) is spearheading a conference this week:  ‘Blueprinting the Information Valet Economy,’ to discuss future funding models on the web.   You can follow along through a live video stream, or other resources accessed from that page, including live blogging.

READ MORE about the conference, the Information Valet, and the Reynolds Journalism Institute.

"Internet for Everyone" to meet this Saturday

The U.S. now ranks 15th on the list of nations for broadband access, and many believe that a lack of infrastructure is making it a less-than democratic medium.  Internet for Everyone (the initiative is organized by Free Press and members include Google) was formed to work on this divide, and will host a major meeting this Saturday in LA:

"WASHINGTON -- -- a public-private sector initiative to connect every American to a fast, open and affordable Internet -- will hold its first town hall meeting on Dec. 6 in Los Angeles. This event is the first of a nationwide series designed to build popular support for making universal Internet access a top priority for the new administration and Congress."

TypePad's Journalist Bailout Program

For anyone who has missed it, in mid-November, Six Apart's Anil Dash announced a Journalist Bailout Program--it was meant to be snarky, but also genuine. They would give out-of-work journalists a free TypePad blog and free enrollment in their advertising program. On the 18th, he wrote that what was meant for a few friends created an overwhelming reponse--the quirky announcement struck a chord with people, perhaps because it offered a positive (if small) solution.

As a follow-up, MGP just added a video of a 2005 interview with Six Apart's Mena Trott to our archives (see her profile here):

To play video, click play button in lower left corner.

Sustainability Models and the Voice of San Diego (cont.)

As a follow-up to the New York Times coverage of the Voice of San Diego (see post below), I transcribed some of our interview with Voice Co-Editor Andrew Donohue. You can listen to the whole interview here, or click here to go to his MGP profile, where I've put the transcription.


Sustainability models: local news websites

Yesterday's New York Times article, "Web Sites That Dig for News Rise as Watchdogs," covers the rise of local news websites--as an alternative for traditional newspapers that are no longer financially sustainable, and as an alternative for the "partisan commentary, gossip, vitriol and citizen journalism" often found online. 

Overlooking the easy poke at citizen journalism, the article brings up the dilemma that is news-on-the-web.  By focusing on the Voice of San Diego, it shows how you can be a success (their small staff exposed local scandals that would have gone uncovered) and still have no clear idea how to make money.  It reminded me of an article the OJR did on the Voice (read it here, including an interview), calling them a leader in a growing field, before adding:  "There's just one thing missing:  a business model."  READ MORE, including a list of MGP information about websites covered in article.

Just released: recommendations for Obama on government transparency

A collaboration of over 240 groups and individuals have just released "Moving Toward a 21st Century Right-To-Know-Agenda:  Recommendations to President-elect Obama and Congress."  The 98-page document (read it here) lists ways for the Obama administration to create a more transparent government.  

The report warns, "We are rapidly shifting from a society based on the public's right to know to one premised on the need to know, where the government determines the need."  The writing of the report was overseen by OMB watch, which is housed with  Media Giraffe prospect Patrice McDermott is director of, and chaired the panel responsible for writing the chapter, "Creating a Government Environment for Transparency."  We interviewed her about the process of getting the report to Obama.  You can read the article here. goes live January 12

When the Boston Globe cut their foreign bureau, Charlie Sennott was out of a job.  He took a year to figure out what to do about it.  What he created, along with Philip Balboni of New England Cable News, was, a for-profit news website with 70 foreign correspondents from around the world.  They're set to go live on January 12, 2009.

In this video (taken at the New Business Models for News Summit) he gives a personal and lively 6 minute explanation on what they intend on doing.  Their goal, he says, is an "American voice for foreign news." 

Also, Next Newsroom's Chris O'Brien interviewed Sennott last week.  You can listen to the audio and read his article here.  At the idea of something so ambitious--70 reporters around the world--O'Brien writes:  "Sound crazy? I thought so. But I changed my mind after listening to Sennott."  


A new book on citizen journalism

Media Giraffe Prospect Jack Driscoll just released a new how-to on citizen journalism:  Couch Potatoes Sprout:  The Rise of Online Community Journalism

"An intimate, inside look at the internal workings of three pioneering publications—that started in 1996, 1998 and 2003—reflects the satisfaction and energizing effect of being able to publish widely without the benefit of a printing press."    

We interviewed him yesterday about the book.