Increased collaboration among citzens and newsrooms requires that citizens be given precise tasks with an obvious purpose, and strong guidance, especially about how to merger observation with opinion, according to the editor of a successful New Hampshire project. New Hampshire Public Radio is reporting on its year-long "Primary Place Online" project.
UPDATES: Here is a link to WGBH-TV Channel 2's "Beat the Press" April 20 show, which covers the new paper's launch -- LAUNCH VIDEO. And NPR's Morning Edition carried a story from WBUR on BostonNow's first day of publication. The paper's website is now up here. And you can follow the interim editor's blog.
Four staff writers at The Republican, the daily paper serving Springfield, Mass., researched the spread of web-based citizen watchdog movements in cities and town of Western Massachusetts. Their March 14, 2007, report (ALT URL) is one of the best summaries of the reasons why citizens are banding together in small groups and changing the course of civic affairs. Efforts spotlighted are in the towns of Wilbraham, Agawam, Amherst, Warren, Ware and Chicopee. The lead writers were Jeanette DeForge, Suzanne mcLaughlin with help from Chirs Hamel and Elizabeth Roman.
Newspapers are looking for new ways to connect with their community. In Madison, Wis., the Wisconsin State Journal, one of the largest papers in the Lee Enterprises chain, named in 2005 an advisory board of leaders from the non-profit sector. "We thought the first group would be primarily interested in learning about how the newspaper and www.madison.com work," said Ellen Foley, the newspaper's editor. "Instead, the group was keenly intent on educating the State Journal on how the nonprofit community operates." LINK TO FOLEY COLUMN.