New York Times: Hey Kids, Let’s Put on a Blog! Starting today, The Local is an online news site for these communities. But if we build it right together, The Local will be something much more: a glorious if cacophonous chorus of your voices singing the song of life itself in these astoundingly varied and vibrant neighborhoods.
With your input, The Local will tell stories that matter: crime and politics and culture and civic life and everything else. Some stories will be snapshots, mere moments. Others will unfold over days or weeks or marking periods — the birth pangs of a food coop or a high school newspaper, the aftermath of a crime, and, as the unstoppable wave of local gentrification crashes into the unstoppable wave of global economic meltdown, an ever-growing tale of loss and struggle.
The Times’ move here is critically important. It’s long overdue, as such a thing would be at any newspaper, but at least it’s finally happening. I’ll be watching closely to see how this develops.
What I don’t see, so far, is any serious indication of the parallel media universe that exists outside the Times’ perception. If this “local” site doesn’t point widely to the community blogs and other media, it will simply reinforce the old-style media view of the past. I’m confident that the paper understands this.
One question, of course, is whether (a) this will make any money for the newspaper, and, if so, (b) whether the Times will share any wealth created by the community in this endeavor. Let’s wait for (a) before we worry too much about (b).