July 23, 2009

AnnArbor.com growing bumper crop of recognition

The AnnArbor.com is getting - and rebroadcasting via Twitter - lots of Internet love. (Love, because any attention is better then no attention right?)

All eyes on AnnArbor.com says a student from Central Michigan University.

NBC also put together a report (Find it on MSNBC)

I thought it was too late for a post started before the Art Fair but delayed by migraines, multiple sclerosis and mom business. But maybe not.

See, I said that the tweets and posts were coming in fast and furious as folks are ramping off to kick off the from-the-groundoup, web-first experiment in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And, they keep coming.

Keep a watch on Free From Editors and Daily Derelict and, of course, AnnArbor.com for updates and discussion.

Wine blogging is hot with Free From Editors jumping back in, debate over at MichWine and Tweet, Tweet, Tweet.

Another whine

Keeping up

Bloggers and others also are commenting, even when they can't raise an interview with staff who are furiously working to get folks trained on software and competing.

M Go Blue is asked about the expected impact of AnnArbor.com on his blog when interviewed as News Innovators on the Frontline. Here's most of that answer, but go read the rest of the entry if you're interested in media innovation.
"I don’t know how much of an impact it will actually have, because the kind of people who are still subscribing to The Ann Arbor News aren’t my core demographic. My core demographic is very male, very young, highly educated, and I would assume, highly internet-oriented. The kind of people who are affected by The Ann Arbor News becoming annarbor.com are generally less hardcore about their sports coverage.

But with the transition to the web, they are promising to link out a lot, so having more of a two-way relationship with the local news sites would help, probably just in terms of Google ranking and maybe some traffic. "

The reinvention of journalism, AnnArbor.com style, is the focus of the fourth and final look at citizen journalism on DetroitMakeItHere.com
“The community team has no parallel in traditional paper organizations,” said (Tony) Dearing, who was previously editor of The Flint Journal, a Booth-owned paper. Staff positions of community director, community producer/copy editor, blog leader and two part-time community assistants, will oversee user-generated content."
More details:
Editorial positions include the news, entertainment and sports groups. Staff and freelance journalists will write stories and produce photos and video for the traditional sections of the site.

Invitations go out - hey, the art fair is going on. we're in the middle plus Meet the entertainment staff; or meet some of the folks who will be blogging. Did you hear about Cindy Heflin and Julian Keeping?

There are apologies - we're sorry about the letter with typos; sorry about a comment lost in the shuffle, and yes, we had to take down the forum as spam swamped us but here's a link of where to find all of the comments. DetroitMakeItHere tells us:
"Leading topics were performing arts (1,498 votes), breaking news (1,200 votes), politics/local government (1,151 votes), entertainment calendar (1,147 votes) and investigative reporting (794 votes)"
The big apology came from the top guy when the site's debut was postponed. Matt Kraner, President of AnnArbor.com tells what happened to Lucy. The online, on-site explanation came from Dearing.

Leaving now

In another state, there's a fond farewell from Michael Rothstein on his way to cover sports:
"This is Draft No. 3 of my see 'ya later post. Each time has come off way too saccharin, way too reflective for someone still on the young side of 30.

Yet that wouldn't seem right, not after four years in Fort Wayne, four years covering Notre Dame and trying to provide new, different and informative content."

Joining now

Closer to home, you can read about upcoming plans from Dusty Diary who soon will blog on "hoboes, junkyards, and consumptives" or from A Woman's Guide to Saner Living.

Ther's a note about her new gig over on AnnArbor Mom. Learn more about Jenn McGee, who will be covering theater. Jeremy Peters is writing about Forth From Its Hinges, or at least that's what his Tweet says as he goes for some crowdsourcing. Maybe a hint from Ask Annie.
The owners of one of the media wonders about the media pie.

We're watching

Over at Kalamazoogle, it is Ann Arbor redux with a post that starts
"Anyone interested in the future of the news business is undoubtedly watching Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Next week, the tech-savvy college town will see its one newspaper fold up and be replaced by a shiny new web site."

That post layouts the ownership:
"The paper and the web site are both owned by Booth Newspapers, which also owns the Kalamazoo Gazette. All are owned by Advance Publications, which was formerly known as Newhouse News Service, which is in turn owned by Conde Nast, which owns the New Yorker and Wired and stuff. Whew!"
Then, concludes:

"So maybe they know what they're doing. I've been following the stream from the blog at AnnArbor.com and I think there's a lot to respect. They seem to be developing something that is genuinely different from what a lot of their print colleagues are trying."

About Google

Plus Rick Edmonds at Poynter chimes in with Newhouse's AnnArbor.com Enters a Crowded Field Next Week.
"Former president of Advance.net Jeff Jarvis does online consulting for Advance, and he may be offering a sneak preview of sorts for the site in his recent book, "What Would Google Do?":

"What does a newspaper look like if it is no longer a newspaper? It will be more of a network with a smaller staff of reporters and editors still providing news and recouping value for that. Paper 2.0 will work with and support collections of bloggers, entrepreneurs, citizens and communities that gather and share news. A newspaper is no longer a printing press that turns out money. But as a network, it could be bigger than papers have been in years, reaching deeper into communities, having more of an impact and adding more value. To get there it has to act small and think big and see the world differently."

There's more from Rick:
Ann Arbor's transition from dominance by a traditional newspaper to something else has two interesting echoes in projects of the Knight Foundation, the largest philanthropy fund focused on journalism. A major Knight-sponsored commission is studying information needs of American communities and new ways to satisfy them. Its report and recommendations are due in early fall, and it is safe to assume the context will be a diminishing role of newspapers, if not widespread closures.

Similarly, Knight has had several programs in recent years plowing millions of dollars of seed support to innovative, independent projects, mostly Web-based, calculating the decline in business fortunes and news capacity of traditional media even before it became so apparent.

Grant time

So he asked Gary Kebbel, journalism program director at Knight, if Ann Arbor projects were funded and would the closing of a daily newspaper increase chances of someone getting a grant.
No and no, Kebbel said; grant awards are "based on the merits of the project and [the applicant's] capacity to do it." But "special gaps" may be considered, he added, and may become a bigger factor as more papers fail.

Hard to keep up with the posting about Ann Arbor, my new home away from home. I've been using Publish2 as one way to collect links on AnnArbor.com, Michigan media and AdvancePublications. Join me.


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