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What can you teach fellow participants in New Pamphleteers?

In a pre-event registration survey, we asked participants: What aspect of local online news and community building have you succeeded at sufficiently to feel you could discuss it with your peers at JTM-Minnesota? Is there other relevant expertise, background or success you would be willing to share with fellow participants? How can we facilitate?

  • I would be happy to discuss with other attendees being one of the first

citizen journalism sites to launch, growing traffic, growing registered user count, working with advertising and marketing departments and more.

Well... we were extraordinarily successful. Among our accomplishments:

  • Removal from office of three members of our city commission who by many accounts unreasonably stood in the way of change, including the mayor and a very powerful 18-year veteran of the commission;
  • Restoration of reasonable zoning regulations to allow more downtown commercial development.
  • Master planning of two separate sections of town;
  • Design of a new park and community-built playground; persuading city to spend nearly $1 million on it; helped raise approximately $170,000 to help fund the playground;
  • Persuading city to expand the number of available liquor licenses by creating a new class of ""bistro"" licenses;
  • Persuading city to encourage more outdoor cafes by relaxing the zoning regulations governing them;
  • Encouraging progressive citizens to volunteer for important city advisory boards.
  • So... We helped give voice to the progressive point of view, with genuine

accomplishments. The website, by the way, is www.bham"

  • Starting something like Minnov8 with nothing but a vision, some server

space and a free Wordpress instance. It's not the technology, it's the vision and the energy that drives momentum.

  • I agree with Chris Anderson and his "long tail" analysis that states daily

or monthly hit counts are not what this is about. If we are in it for the long term, then the site becomes a store house of information about the area, links that come in handy far into the future, and possibly from time to time it provides something that turns into the received wisdom on an issue. That is fun, when people start repeating something from my site and don't know where it came from. And that is really ok.

  • I think Patchwork Nation can be used by others to explore their home towns

and regions.

  • I can assist in all levels of expertise for those interested in

effectively reaching the public.

  • I founded the Media Bloggers Association which is the largest association of bloggers in the world. My knowledge of the web is very basic.

- Development of software to integrate the operations and drive down costs - Finding a sustainable business/financial model - Unifying community residents and advertisers efficiently and involving them directly in writing and producing the paper

  • We have created a community website and a weekly alternative paper that

are fabulous, and about 75 percent community-driven (submitted content). I can tell you how we did that. We are a reverse publishing, for profit business model. We have 110 contributors from 27 communities.

  • I'll be presenting on findings of research related to citizen journalism.

"I'm interested in sharing our experience with real-time crime reporting. Our daily ""CD Scanner"" feature provides readers with crimes in the neighborhood as we hear them on the police scanner. Each entry is individually mapped and searchable through tags over time.

  • The scanner reports have been the major driver behind the growth of our

site, and serves as the glue that keeps people coming back multiple times a day to see what's going on.

  • I could discuss the key steps to getting a substantial news site off the

ground. It took us months to work through various questions about content, business plan and technical setup. Our experience could help others do this much faster.

  • I've developed several successful community building sites, and am

currently involved in further promotion of those sites, in addition to building sites for others. One of the projects I am currently involved in is a highly interactive web site for a community access (PEG) television station in California.

  • I'm in my second year of serious blogging. I really like the

conversations I get in my comments section about practical local issues: school bond votes, local political campaigns, rural economic development, etc. Many people are still shy about leaving their names, but good conversation still takes place.

  • I've tried to use my experience as a high school English/speech teacher

and debate coach to encourage my readers to engage in pasionate yet civil public discourse. I've emphasized to readers and commenters the importance of interacting as if we were face to face with neighbors, not taking the all-too-common potshots that characterize many blogs and forums." We are just getting started, but we have some experience in providing reports on major government activities and agencies in ways that have proven popular to our readers. We have some background in reporting on government agencies that might be interesting to people tackling "large" concepts or institutions. These things are more a point of view than a set strategy or methodology, but we could talk about those issues informally.

  • Given the generally limited resources, I've succeeded in keeping an

office open since the fall of 2004. The site, which depends on local members for a significant part of its content and even news, is now making money not only from memberships (commercial and personal) but from a combination of banner advertising and video advertising sources.

  • I am planning to present a video that suggests that one of the key

elements to the success is an attitude of putting the community first. One aspect is the elegant approach to selling advertising that uses an auction approach, not to set the price, but the delivery of ads. This approach to pricing advertising is suitable only for the Internet as the incremental costs of adding in an advertiser into a rotation is virtually nil."

  • Comfortable discussing technology including RSS and RSS reading software.

Willing to share expertise in building blogs for different groups and configuring Wordpress.

  • Use of video of government meetings on sites: I don't know that I would

say I have special expertise, but I do have some thoughts about it. Some of the cities around Newburgh post on the municipal sites their entire meetings, in long chunks. Others broadcast their meetings on Public Access, as the City of Newburgh does. What then becomes the purpose of an independent site to run video of meetings or excerpts of meetings? The web offers many advantages to television news, as formatting is not tightly time-determined and thus only the most sensational highlights are picked up. Recently a section of a meeting I'd videotaped was included in the regional local paper and picked up on the regional cable news.

  • The technical end and general administration, but really all aspects of

building and maintaining a community news site.

  • Can also speak to design/development for small business, ""buy local""

initiatives, and NGOs which I would like to see taking more advantage of open source applications and the whole open source/social networking/cluetrain concept--marketing and maintaining an online presence that you understand as having a relational, social dimension."

  • I created a nonprofit newsletter from scratch in 1990 which reached the

powerful health care industry in Oregon and subsequently lost my position because I my investigational articles threatened their status In college, I ran the largest national student newsmagazine called Current. We worked with student journalists across the country to produce a pan-collegiate quarterly publication showcasing work from some of the nation's top college journalists, artists, and photojournalists. For the last two years, I've been steeped in social media, working for a start-up in the space and now at YouTube.

  • Integrating an existing print publication with a web presence - content

sharing and joint income generation. We were recognized in the Batten Awards a few years back for our use of blogs for candidate debates.

  • I feel I can definitely speak to the way the internet has affected the

television news market and helped the non-profit world. It's been a unique change that's certainly gained momentum in the last five years and I have seen firsthand how the internet has changed both professions in their way of communicating with their audiences.

  • I am only at the 'start-up' phrase in my efforts in providing online

community news for the deaf, but I understand very well the intense challenges involved in attempting to use video at a level that provides equitable access to creating citizen media as compared to written english news sites. I also am experienced with the deaf community, a 'special interest' community group which have very different needs and challenges in online news community building than a 'general population' local community. I am open to discussing this with others, but would need a sign language interpreter to help communicate.

  • I haven't done much local online news/community building, but I have been

reasonably successful in my minor niche of news coverage on a national level. Although monetarily the success doesn't appear to be as notable, the fact that I went from blogging 2 1/2 years ago on my issue in relative obscurity to testifying before Congress last December on it is a testament to the power and range of the Internet.

  • I can talk about my experiences with both The UpTake and Minnesota

Stories, video-based community sites which have been successful at becoming part of the alt-media in the Twin Cities.

  • Being taken seriously by public agencies, movers and shakers, community


      -Posting frequently -Uncovering sources of information -Adding other site areas to generate more traffic, better serve your readers, be more appealing to advertisers -Sur
  • I've had some limited success at taking an issue and getting it into the

mainstream news. I also work regularly with wordpress as tool to promote online news and community building.


  • Hyper-localism.

Working with elected officials and local media. Using open source software."

  • I have no experience or expertise to share at this time.

"Blogging in rural/minor media markets Metrics for measuring and discussing ""Long-tail"" market niches"

  • 1994: Started (and still own) the web's oldest political news web site (Capitol Hill Blue)
  • 2004: Started a community-based web site covering news and events in the Blue Ridge Mountain community of Floyd, VA"

  • Open access legislation - FOIA, local data practices laws

Tools to access government information - local, state, federal Local points of access, e.g. depository libraries" My background is in addressing niche content. I would love to discuss my experiences with Forward Forum and my efforts to engage the University of Wisconsin student community with the larger activist core of Madison.

  • Blogging as well a using and establishing newsrooms for media outlets.

I would like to discuss our Representative Journalism project in Northfield, MN.