What if we think global and act really local?

Special thanks to @brainpicker who tweeted this article.

No doubt about it, the way we interact with technology has vastly changed the media landscape.  Although these changes have been hard on the industry, with the shuttering of many regional papers and vast staff reduction, they have also ushered in a whole new era of journalism.

Today, The New York Times débuts “The Local”, a newsblog created through a partnership with NYU’s Carter School of Journalism.  True to its name, the Local is very local—there is one edition for the Lower East Side and another for Fort Greene and Clinton Hill—and seems to be something of a modern bulletin board.  Although community members are encouraged to participate, journalism students and New York Times journalists will make up the editorial board.  According to the “About” page:

“For years now the lines between those who produce news and those who consume it have become increasingly blurred. And so we hope to bring our readers even more into the process of producing news in ways that few other sites have tried before.”

One of the many aspects that differentiates The Local from other community blogs, is the seamless mix of “conventional” and “citizen” journalism. What I find particularly ingenious is the Virtual Assignment Desk, an application that allows readers to submit ideas for stories and to volunteer for assignments already approved by editors.  The Assignment Desk has not yet made its début on the blog.  See the below video for more information:

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/14952922 [/vimeo]

I would imagine that if The Local is successful, the New York Times and its competitors will soon be launching other neighborhood newsblogs.

Projects such as this one, as well as the YouTube “U Report” page in the Bay Area and the Birmingham Mail’s hyperlocal Communities Project all point to a media world where the lines between journalists and readers will become even more blurred and where we’ll all get to know our neighbors a little bit better.  It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

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