April 23, 2009

California project another one for the radar

I should have known when I checked out the New Voices grants issued the other day that the Oakland Local had transplant Susan Mernit involved. It's just one more reason I'll be watching the updates on the hyperlocal journalism efforts in this grant-funded program.

Susan worked with Jeff Jarvis back in the mid1990s, designing the first "newspaper" site for Advance Publications. I put newspaper in quotes because nj.com was a pretty independent effort despite the Advance-owned New Jersey Star-Ledger right there.

In web time, the 1990s was a long time ago so don't expect aother nj.com. Here's how Susan described her Knight Foundation-funded project in a blog post:

"So what's the funding for? It's to kick start Oakland Local, a new site for Oakland.
Oakland Local will be a daily-updated Web site and mobile service with a focus on environment, climate, transportation, housing, local government and community activism in Downtown, Uptown, North Oakland, West Oakland, Fruitvale, Lake Merritt, and the Dimond District.

We will have an editor, a publisher and three paid part-time reporters who will produce content, along with community contributors. We'll be very mobile-friendly and the site will geotag content to an XML data map, encourage users to interact via cell phones and employ a range of social networking tools to surface, share and make discoverable so much of the amazing organizing and activism in Oakland."
She describes the goal:
"The vision here is to marry a deeper aggregation of community and non-profit content with more considered, analytical coverage of a narrow set of issues that have huge resonance for so many people in the O--and see what we can learn from the mix.

"There is so much happening that needs to be better surfaced--and an opportunity to blend organizational work from so many of the groups engaged in creating change and policy--and to actually cover it as well."
You can get an idea of why I'll watch what Susan does in this post "Being a generalist, staying focused" (though if you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know I've been watching Susan and her inspiring work for awhile)
Possible related posts:


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