Image of Old City Philadelphia cobblestone courtesy of Flickr user IceNineJon.
In the future, this project leads to:
- Open source platform for other regionally-grouped niche sites to come together.
- Community-edited profiles of local focus and meaning (i.e. city government lobbyists, community associations presidents and other leaders who might otherwise remain anonymous)
- A cross-platform tool that can go beyond WordPress and work with meta data from other CMS.
- Membership model based on support of an entire local news collaborative network.
- Ad network integration, further connecting disparate niche sites
- This will connect and encourage collaboration between other and future content providers in Philadelphia.
Niche news sites need to be brought together to strengthen the future of journalism.
Last year, we at Technically Philly started that hunt with a Knight News Challenge application for News Inkubator, a business services hub and incubation space for independent news startups. We didn’t make the cut, but we have taken to bootstrapping the concept by starting with an advertising network.
Today is the 2010 Knight News Challenge grant deadline, and we’ve continued that focus.
We took time to learn that our News Inkubator proposal was too broad and focused on trying to find smaller, more actionable steps, particularly ones that could work with other larger investment.
In doing so, we’re introducing Cobblestone, a proposed tagging WordPress plugin that will feed a searchable, dynamically updated, mobile-friendly directory platform homepage with content from various partners.
See our Knight application here.
Though we think it has real monetary value — considering it is based on a Technically Philly directory aimed at a membership model — this is a decidedly more editorial-first focus. Get the niche sites together, and we can build revenue together.
Perhaps the first question we expect to be asked: why is this different than Google alerts and RSS feeds?
Cobblestone gives tag-specific and cross-partner content some place to live. Once the alerts of Bill Green or the feeds from each of the partner sites pass in time, they are lost. This creates a true homepage.