A column by Steve Outing documents an experiment in participatory journalism by Jeff Jarvis at Advance.net, which has introduced citizen bloggers at two of its local-news sites, MassLive.com and NJ.com.
"Jarvis looks at community blogging as a way for a news organization to get to the hyper-local level. A motivated group of community members volunteer to write on a regular basis about something they know or care deeply about. They publish “news” and opinion about things that the news organization can’t afford to cover....”
“As Jarvis sees it, it’s the personal nature of citizen blogs that will make them work on local news sites. For a small community, he says, the citizen blogs may be how you get to know your neighbors. You’ll pay attention to the blogs and read them because they are written by your friends and acquaintances. This is not a danger to professional reporting, by the way. It’s complementary."
The column goes on to explain other aspects of Jarvis’ well-conceived plan, including three bullets on why this approach is different than the failed Koz community publishing company. Outing, always able to look back, notes: “Community publishing was a good idea in the late ‘90s that just didn’t pan out. Maybe this time the industry will get it right.”