the kdmcinfo weblog

New York Times Goes Local

There is big news on the front page of the New York Times today. And I don't just mean that the Dow closed below 6,800 for the first time in more than a decade.

One the front page is a nice, homey green logo with just the words "the Local." The NYT is starting "hyper-local" coverage in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill in Brooklyn and Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange, N.J.

While it's too early to tell much about these new blogs, I do like the way the NYT is starting...

Welcome to our big little experiment.

Greetings, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill. This is your Local speaking. Soon, we hope, you will talk back to it.

Blogger: Andy Newman

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.

Through all this, I will be your co-curator, moderator, referee and Local recruiter. I will also be doing old-fashioned journalism.

I'm also happy the the NYT didn't send an army of reporters and interns into the community... this is by design a site that will rely on the community for content.

I wish The Times well on this experiment. The industry needs a model for breaking out of the current doom, gloom, layoffs, furloughs and closures that is the result of "business as usual" in newsrooms around the country. There are many questions about advertising, journalism standards, vetting, fact checking, comment editing that will need to be answered. But for now, I am just happy the NYT is trying something that most other news organizations have avoided—actively partnering with the community.