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Report of Journalism That Matters Breakout session

How communities might own a newsroom

Chris Peck | 12:30

Take a look at how this fits in with The Next Newsroom proposal

Some models: - It was a public utility. What does the community own now? Is that the model to follow? School boards, fiber optics, public radio subscription service (this is: everyone pays somehow) - there has to be a certain amount of independence (this is: this is some degree of independent non-profit that people contribute content to - stock ownership aspect (like the CSOP proposal). How do you sell shares? Packer shares come with season tickets - Inspector General: IG is accountable to the head of the org, but is independent enough that they can disagree with the board (so he can't be summarily dismissed) - Social Justice fund (Wash state?). People contribute to it on a smaller basis and it gets accumulated that then someone runs. There's enough people in it that it can become "bullet proof" - Co-op model. You participate in the function as well as contributing to it and benefitting from it. A lot of co-ops are ag, so we could look at that model - Community radio in South Africa. Was this based on a program in Newfoundland? - public libraries

How could you get a co-op to work in America? Barriers: - People have gotten to used to it being a free enterprise that somebody else does. Is local news the thing that we can give back? - Sometimes the "big" media comes in, but the other smaller media gets ignored

A co-op could work if: - there wasn't any other source of local news - there's a niche you can fill . below the countywide level . suburban sprawl has killed weeklies [suburban sprawl isn't very geographic] . there's a loss of neighborhood . speed is an issue, especially for small weeklies . a print product can't give neighborhood-level news . why link the concept of journalism to the written press? . weekly used to be alright because we were a society used to working slower, now many of us are tied to minute updates

what are the lessons from radio - is PBS viable or too attached to a mindset - is talk radio news? - is talk radio and blogging related? [people start them because they want to share their "unheard" opinion

crowd sourcing is part of it -- journalists could pose questions to everyone and try to bring them into the conversation can you make your news organization the place were people go to learn about your community and opine about it ownership model could be at the homeowner level -- it's a natural collection level. Such as homeowner associations. If there's revenue from this, then the money can feed back into the community The ownership aspects are the things that have to change does ownership need to be tied to geography

what groups exist that have geographic ties? parent groups, sports [all levels], work groups, commuters, small businesses, alumni of the area

barry wallman: network individualism. everyone has their own community that they built. the manifestation of that is myspace. you can't use the internet to make people do something they wouldn't otherwise do

is the new term hyperpersonal rather than hyperlocal

should it be about personal relevance? what's the purpose of journalism? can you tie news from other places into your local community sites? again: local education, homeowner associations, interests tied to geography, shopping the journalists could make the connections to the larger picture and use the conversations to find stories to cover (answer the questions that people are asking)

do journalists live in the community they cover?

is there a model where the journalist is working for the community, not the workplace?

journalism has existed underneath but separate from the umbrella of business community work has to be bottom up community site owners should be owners of the business AND the content need quality of information and analysis do you need the "big" journalism and can it all be done through comments from the various parties?

How do we show the progression of the stories we're working on? It would be a huge help to transparency.

How about co-opetition?

Would the community pay to be covered? Example, the local paper is getting rid of their music writer? Would the community get together and pay for that position to keep the coverage?

How do you preserve a degree of autonomy and accountability? There should be a level of insolation. An ombudsman? How do you get rid of a judge?

How do the small papers survive? How do they produce really good, independent news when they're face-to-face with their readers everyday?