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New Boston Free Daily puts Bloggers on the Page

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.)

5 Comments on “New Boston Free Daily puts Bloggers on the Page”

  1. #1 Seth Finkelstein
    on Apr 9th, 2007 at 8:58 am

    Dan, look at difference in these two sentences:

    “Beyond offering the citizen-generated content …”


    “Beyond offering the unpaid freelancer articles …”

    What’s so great about that?

    [I know, I’ve said it before … ]

  2. #2 Jon Garfunkel
    on Apr 9th, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    I’m not *that* cynical. As the Weekly Dig, Dan Kennedy, et al say, it will give the Metro an interesting run for its money. I think I noted to Adam Gaffin, it could give his UniversalHub a run in the local aggregator niche.

    Otherwise, Deb– congrats! You definitely committed yourself to a new career course, best of luck with the Citizen Media effort!

  3. #3 Dan Kennedy
    on Apr 9th, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    Jon — Yes, but my fear is that this could be good for everyone except the folks who are providing free material to BostonNOW. I did have a chance to chat up Wilpers this past weekend, and he insists that there will be money for the bloggers somewhere down the line. I don’t doubt his intentions, but we’ll see. As for me, I’m sticking with Dr. Johnson: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.”

  4. #4 building the 3rd zone » Blog Archive » 3LinkThink
    on Apr 16th, 2007 at 4:32 am

    […] interesting concept – in my backyard  Posted by Scott M. Beatty Filed in General, […]

  5. #5 Will Sullivan's Journerdism » Washington Post goes HD; Webby award nominees; Cadbury investigative citizen journalism
    on Aug 2nd, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    […] New Boston Free Daily puts Bloggers on the Page Reverse publishing bloggers in print. […]