BostonNOW, a new free weekly set to launch April 17th, expects to fill out its content with excerpts from local bloggers. A small staff will cover local events, and some wire service stories will be included
But the use of the fresh voices of citizens on both its web site and print editions is designed to differentiate Boston NOW from the other free publications and attract younger readers. Beyond offering the citizen-generated content, Editor-in-Chief John Wilpers and Web Content Manager Regina O’Brien also plan to live webcast their editorial meetings, soliciting reader feedback and giving citizens a voice in the paper’s coverage.
According to the Weekly Dig, the short blurbs from the blogs will be included in the paper with complete entries posted on the Boston Now website, with “no editing and no censorship, so long as the copy’s clean and legal.” However, Boston Herald business writer Jesse Noyes notes on the Herald’s blog that NOW’s top executive, Russell Pergament, has had run-ins with bloggers and free-speech issues in the past. But Wilpers replies that the bloggers will be given free reign in this new venture. Right now the bloggers and other citizen contributors (photographers and videographers) are not compensated for their exposure, but possible compensation could be arranged in the future.
Is Boston NOW the future of the newspaper or an experiment in citizen media that will serve as a model of what not to do? I’ll keep an eye on this intriguing experiment.
(Editor’s Note: Welcome to Debbie Block-Schwenk, who will be posting regularly on the Center for Citizen Media blog. She was one of the main contributors to the recent “Principles of Citizen Journalism” project.)