by Peter Fleck
[March 14, 2011. A very late update. I never did get a 2010 Knight News award. I applied again for a 2011 award and was rejected again. But the Profile lives on.]
[April 2, 2010. Update on the Knight News Challenge application: No rejection letters yet and Knight reviewed final entries this week. Declination letters to go out next week. My fingers are crossed.]
[February 4, 2010. Update on the Knight News Challenge application: We made the second round and I updated the application, answered new questions, and resubmitted on January 31.]
(Our profile picture is Merwyn the river monster, a whimsical, imaginative and climbable piece of artwork whose head, tail, and hands emerge from the earth in Triangle Park. Artist Marjorie Pitz created the friendly creature as the Protector of Seward’s land and water.)
For as long as I’ve lived in Seward Neighborhood (thirty years) there has always been a community news source. First the Seward Profile and following that The Bridge Neighborhood News (print version) and the companion online Bridgeland News. Today with the downward turn of the economy, Bridge publisher Dan Nordley is unable to continue both publishing the print version and maintaining the online site. Seward Neighborhood now lacks a comprehensive news source.
Before I go any farther, I want to give a huge thanks to Dan Nordley and the entire crew at first the Profile and then The Bridge for the extraordinary job they have done over the years!
Here is one of the next chapters in our community news saga. (I hope it will be a long chapter but we will have to wait and see.) It is an online blog dedicated to Seward-only news. It will have a synergy with our Seward Neighbors Forum that I co-manage with Becca Vargo Daggett. The synergy is still to be determined as are many aspects of this whole project. I certainly have lots of ideas but I want to hear your ideas. What do you think of the design? What kind of news would you like to see here? Would you be willing to write some of the news?
I’m putting on the de facto editor hat as this news blog starts up. I have an application in with the Knight News Challenge for funding to help publish this blog and for creating a news blog model that can be replicated in other communities. The current plan would be to use the funding to get started and work out the system(s). The final structure is still to be determined. I plan on contacting the local businesses about advertising and I’m working on very creative advertising solutions since plain old click-through ads don’t work that well. (One idea: each business would have their own blog for posting.) It would be great if this news blog could become self-sustaining via ad dollars but I will also be seeking more foundation funding at least for the initial stages.
The tool that I’ve chosen for this blog—it’s called Posterous—will help in recruitment efforts. If you have emailing skills and a bit of writing ability, you are ready to be a reporter. You can post to this blog directly with email. You can attach photo, video, or audio files and Posterous will do the right thing with each and even store copies at other sites like our Flickr photo sharing site and our YouTube account (haven’t set up the YouTube account yet). PDF and Word documents can be attached and will display in a viewer in the blog and also stored at our Scribd account. In addition, new posts to the blog can be held for approval by the editor(s). It’s really quite an amazing system. We will also autopost to a Twitter account.
I’ve posted a sample of articles in the blog including a recent Seward Neighborhood Group Newsletter, a photo piece on Franklin Frolic, and a Minneapolis Police Dept. Community Update. These types of pieces will be at the heart of the blog along with actual coverage of local meetings by “objective” correspondents. Articles will be “tagged” by editors for easy finding and you can see the tags in the right navigation.
If you are intrigued and think you might want to try your hand at some community reporting, drop me a line at sewardprofile AT gmail.com (you’ll have to reconstruct that email address but I’m trying to avoid spam). I plan to write another post soon with ideas for articles. Don’t worry, even though you will directly post to the blog, nothing goes public until approval.
I welcome your feedback as to how to make best use of this system. The best way to provide that feedback is via the commenting system below as the comments become part of a community conversation. Don’t be shy. (If you are shy, go ahead and email me at sewardprofile AT gmail.com.)