I had the pleasure of attending the
Block by Block Community News Summit 2010
this past week in Chicago. I met a lot of very smart and dedicated people all very passionate about the critical importance of engaging communities in local news. Many of the participants represent what are collectively known in the “new media” realm as the “hyper-locals.” About 125 people were able to attend and our hosts
deserve a lot of credit for their work putting together a great conference.
A big take away was that Charlottesville Tomorrow is not alone
There are thousands of people around the country working on hyper-local news sites. Many are 1-2 person operations run by former journalists who lost their jobs in the newspaper industry. They have launched over the past 6 years as both for-profit and non-profit companies trying to fill an information gap in their community. At over five years, Charlottesville Tomorrow is among the veterans in this group.
While in good company, Charlottesville Tomorrow remains unique, particularly in its media partnerships and approach to community engagement.
We still appear to be the only hyper-local in the country with a substantial relationship with a print newspaper. Further, our investment in a community wiki (
), in community visualizations (
), in non-partisan
, and in outreach and participation with other business and community groups appears to be uncommon. The Block by Block participants demonstrated a number of unique approaches and new ideas that we will learn from and apply here in Charlottesville.
Given the uniqueness of our partnership with
The Daily Progress
, I want to share some very positive data covering the first year of our work (Sept 2009 to Aug 2010).
145 published stories (newspaper’s
and print editions) including major front page stories, features, and collaborative series