Nationally and in some cases statewide, there is a growing patchwork of meaningful journalism practitioners. Though lacking in many ways, there is a wealth of niche and hyperlocal news providers developing in many corners of the country.
But the hole remains in broader metro regions, where broader metro daily newspapers have been hardest hit. They were, largely, the purveyor of these common sets of facts to build broader community.
We aren’t witnessing the end of this powerful form, I believe, we are simply waiting for the transition.
I’ve been asked a dozen times in the past few weeks what it takes to develop communities on the Web. There isn’t any scientific response, but I’ve started thinking about four Cs that come to mind.
Connection — Whether it’s a geographic or topical vertical, or one strictly based around a product, organization or experience, there has to be an identifiable reason for people to come together around a single site or platform.
Consistency — If it’s going to be once a week, or once a day or five times a day, you need to remain consistent in connecting with your community
Communication — Dialogue is sticky. Active communication online around your audience keeps people around and coming back.
Compelling content — What is going to bring that community back to that blog, or social media account or forum or mobile application? It needs to be content in one of its many forms and it has to be related and compelling to your audience.
Community newspapers in Philadelphia remain wary of the Web, if any stock is to be paid to a morning panel from a journalism innovation conference held this month at Temple University.
Their thoughts just might be relevant to community-focused news gathers across the country.
Hosted by Temple’s journalism department, the Philadelphia Initiative for Journalistic Innovation was a day’s worth of smaller sessions focusing far less about the plight of big newspapers and more about smaller, more entrepreneurial ventures. Yes, the future of news just might be a series of conferences about the future of news, but I was happy to see a greater focus on the business side of the industry.
With the help of supportive chair Andy Mendelson, Temple journalism professor George Miller put together one of the first future of news conferences I’ve seen that tried to really pay attention to sustainability through profit. There’s incredible value in that, so I was thrilled to be a part of it.
Along with my two fellow co-founders of Technically Philly, I presented twice a session called ‘Be a Publisher Now’ on free tools that news-organizations and bloggers could make use of to create become more efficient and better prepared. See our presentation slides here.
I also got the opportunity to sit in on a session focused how community newspapers were dealing with the 21st-century’s dramatic paradigm shift in news-gathering. That’s where I was left more than a little puzzled.