October 20, 2009

Launch time: California site ready for an audience

Collaboration is key in California where  Oakland Local, a news and community site for Oakland focusing on social justice issues, launched Monday. This is the grant-funded hyperlocal site headed up by Susan Mernit
that I said I'd be watching. I especially like that it launched just as a "Report on the Reconstruction of Journalism" began circulating.

The report's authors published some findings in the Washington Post, including recommendations such as:
  • Permit local news organizations to operate as nonprofit or low-profit entities able to receive tax-deductible donation. (Actually, a Harvard University study - Can NonProfits Save Journalism - also just released says this already is possible.)
  • Encourage philanthropists and foundations to increased support for local news reporting
  •  Require public radio and television stations to provide local news reporting.
  • Encourage universities and colleges to "become institutional sources of local, state and accountability news reporting, following the lead of pioneering journalism schools whose faculty and student journalists staff community news and investigative reporting Web sites"
  • Make the Federal Communications Commission use some of its fees to create a national fund for local, innovative news reporting.  
  • Increase access to and usefulness of public information collected by federal, state and local government  
You can download the report, although I suspect it will become a hot topic on many blogs if you just want to wait.

Meanwhile, head through the Internet to check out the OaklandLocal site.

From the about page:
"Centered on topics including environmental justice, food distribution, transportation, development & housing, arts & education, and gender & identity, Oakland Local aggregates information and news from local non-profits and community organizations working on these topics within a range of Oakland neighborhoods.
"We seek to create a unique local forum for sharing information, building community, speaking truth to power and working together for positive social change. We are committed to diverse voices, reader engagement, deep issue coverage and local commentary."
The Twitter tag of "talking to the people" doesn't seem to reflect the spirit of a site that described itself as "launching in partnership with 35 local nonprofit, neighborhood and community organizations."

Perhaps I'm oversensitive to the wording as the site' mood is one of the people instead of talking to anyone. There are forums, a directory of 320 local nonprofits and a blog directory. You'll also find a link to Get Satisfaction, plus plenty of email addresses to share feedback.

Also contributing are Spot.us, Newsdesk.org, The Center for Investigative Reporting, New America Media, Endless Canvas, Youth Rising, Youth Radio and Youth Outlook.

The site offers plenty to like - clear navigation, writer bios/links, a Daily Brief that is a roundup of articles from other news sources..

The site's seed money comes from a New Voices grant from J-Lab, funded by The Knight Foundation.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, welcome your comments and ideas.
    Best, Susan