Resource: Community News Sites
Knight Citizen News Network
has a “things we like” feature that highlights specific tools and best practices for community and hyper-local Web sites. Lots of very specific ideas and examples here rather than a broad formula for a site.
operates multiple Web sites that are highly local and feature news, blogs, discussion and voting. See the main site for links to the local community sties. A Knight News Challenge winner, Village Soup is expected to make the code used to develop its sites public in 2009 so other site developers can use it and modify it to build sites. (This is called open source code.)
is a Knight News Challenge projectthat offers news and information at the city block level in a dozen American cities. EveryBlock has developed a program that scrapes the Web fore news and other data of interest, including crime reports, want ads, building permits and restaurant ratings.
EveryBlock has made public the code on which it is based so developers of other projects can use it and adapt it to their needs. (everyblock.com/code) EveryBlock may also sell hosted packages. In the meantime, you can check out EveryBlock in Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phildelphia, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
News University at the Poynter Institute offers a wide range of online journalism classes. Most are free. NewsU recommends these courses for people who have no news gathering experience:
- The Interview
- Beat Basics and Beyond
- Understanding and Interpreting Polls.
You will find these and other courses on the NewsU Course List. (You must register on NewsU to participate.)
Knight Community News Network highlights successful community news sites and offers learning modules for citizen journalists. Modules include:
- Guide to Open Government
- Making the Most of Metrics
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization or how to make your content easy to find.)
- Tools for Citizen Journalism
Find these and other courses and guides on KCNN's Learning Modules list.
The site also features a map showing the locations of hundreds of citizen journalism sites where people can look for nearby sources of experience and advice.
The Citizen Media Law Project is a rich source of information about legal issues for community news start ups and citizen journalists. Funded by the Knight Foundation and based at Harvard University, the center has produced an extensive “Citizen Media Legal Guide.” The guide, searchable to topic and by state, has six sections:
- Forming a Business and Getting Online
- Dealing with Online Legal Risks
- Newsgathering and Privacy
- Access to Government Information
- Intellectual Property
- Risks Associated with Publication
News University at the Poynter Instutute offers free online classes related to media law:
News University at Poynter Institute offers online classes in multimedia journalism. Many of them are free. Check out:
- Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling
- Still Photography and Web Sites
- Multimedia Reporting: Covering Breaking News
- Multimedia Tools: Your 2008 Shopping List
- Multimedia Tools: Your 2009 Shopping List
- Reporting Across Platforms
- Telling Stories with Sound
Knight Digital Media Center offers intensive six-day workshops and online tutorials in multimedia.
- KDMC multimedia workshops
- KDMC tutorials in Video, Audio, Photography, Flash, Web Design, Reporting, Mashups
- Mindy McAdams, Knight Chair in Online Journalism, offers frequent lessons and advice on her blog, Teaching Online Journalism
- The Online Journalism Association offers multimedia resources for journalists.
is an example of a niche site with blogs, aggregation and calendar.
is a community-centric approach to news coverage and presentation intended to train and equip its members to be reporters, photographers, illustrators, editors, and designers of a localized Web-based publication. It is a partner with MIT Center for Future Civic Media.
Jan Schaffer, J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism
Northwest Area Foundation
MPR Budget Balancer
Visualizing News: Bakersfield Google mash-ups
- Local Gangswww.Bakersfield.com/982
Search & Find Exercises
- CinciNavigator, Cincinnati Enquirerhttp://data.cincinnati.com/navigator/
- Crowdsourcing, Team Watchdog, Ft. Myers News-Presshttp://www.news-press.net/data/ (Watchdog section on lower right of page.)
Citizen Media New Voices Grantees
- Girls on Air Podcasts, Lower Eastside Girls Clubwww.girlsclubworldwide.org/wp/
- Neighbor Media, Cambridge Community Televisionwww.cctvcambridge.org/neighbormedia
- New Castle Nowwww.NewCastleNOW.org
- Greater Fulton Newswww.GreaterFultonNews.org
Other CitMedia Sites
- New Haven Independentwww.NewHavenIndependent.com
- Rethink College Parkwww.RethinkCollegePark.net
Pro/Am, Venture Capital Sites
Think Tanks, Non-Profit Groups
Knight Citizen News Network
Social networking allows people to share information, photos and other materials and talk about them online. There are many free social networking tools, including
- Ning allows anyone to create a social network instantly.
- Twitter is a "micro blogging" tool that enables people to communicate with their contacts (called followers) via short messages (called tweets).
- Facebook is an immensely popular social networking tool. Many news organizations have created "fan" pages on Facebook or share content on Facebook. One Knight-funded experiment by NewsCloud enables special news sites on Facebook.
- Flickr allows users to share photos. Sites can create photo groups around different topics and locations and link to them on Flickr.
- Seismic enables live video from computer to a site. It's a great tool for doing interviewing people.
News University offers several low-cost Webinars on social media. Titles include:
- "Social Networks: The New Architecture of the Web"
- "Twitter for Journalists"
J-Learning is a Web site designed specifically to help citizen news sites get started. It offers a four-step site development process: 1. Plan It, 2. Build It, 3. Present It, 4. Promote It.
Content management systems are a core component of Web site development. A number of systems are open source, which means the underlying code and instructions are public and developers can modify them to suit a particular project. Open-source products often have robust support communities that share information and development advice. These are widely used tools:
- Drupal.org. Knight Pulse is built with Drupal. Knight is supporting improvements to this platform with the Knight Drupal Initiative. In addition, a subscription package that includes key Drupal features including blogs, wik, community form, social networks, ratings and voting is available from Acquia. Drupal will in 2010 evolve into a content management system on top of a multipurpose development platform for games, transactions and complex applications that supports graphics, shared databases, and all languages and alphabets.
- WordPress.org. This site is built with Wordpress, a tool that has grown from a rich blogging tool to a full featured content management system.
- Ruby on Rails. The Knight News Challenge project Spot.Us is built with Ruby.
- Django. The Knight News Challenge project News Mixer is built with Django.
- Populous Project. This Knight News Challenge project has created an open-source platform that features calendar, photo and video uploads and blogging. It is tailored to collegiate and small town news organizations. The project envisions improvements that will help editors and reporters communicate and organize content from remote locations.
Impact and Evaluation
MLS2009: 'Understanding impact - information and communities'
by Mayur Patel