Posts Tagged ‘Cambridge Reporter’

Cambridge Reporter Revisited

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

It seems that my foray into community publishing in 2008 has garnered some interest on the Twitter… There is some confusion, understandably, about who was doing what when and under what when.

I may do an in-depth post sometime on the whole experience, but for now I’ll offer a simple timeline to clear the air:

(I’m doing this from memory, so I may revise these a bit after publishing)

June 2008: I launch CambridgeReporter.ca. it’s a community-driven site where anyone can submit stories and opinion. It’s intended to be more news than opinion – similar to NowPublic.com but on a smaller scale.

October 2008: TorStar sends me a friendly email about how they still own the Reporter name and they’d appreciate it if I could stop using it. Important to note that in Sept 2008 TorStar did not own any of the relevant URLs, but in October, CambridgeReporter.com suddenly appeared with syndicated content from the K-W Record. Update: Rabble.ca did a story about this here: http://www.rabble.ca/news/cease-and-desist-i-dont-think-so

Later in October 2008: CambridgeReporter.ca becomes CambridgeVoice.ca.

Spring 2009: The Cambridge Voice becomes The Cambridge Advocate under new ownership. (I’m totally drawing a blank on the timing here, so I’ll update after a little research)

There it is – my best recollection of the events surrounding my involvement with the Cambridge Reporter.

On the Twitter, there’s already talk about trying again to create a community-driven local news & opinion website. Stay tuned.

Professional Press vs. Passionate Press

Friday, September 19th, 2008

In a recent post I mused about objectivity in journalism. Yesterday, I got in a ‘comment war’ with a local newspaper reporter about the same topic over at the Reporter.

In the course of the argument I coined a term I don’t think I stole from anyone: the Passionate Press. When I used the term – I was envisioning the masses that have the potential to become ‘the media’ given outlets like the Reporter (and NowPublic.com and others).

Right now, though, the term probably best applies to those special folks who report on the world around them because they are driven to – not because they’re paid to. Though they may well be paid for their efforts. This is in contrast to the ‘Professional Press’ that can and will report on anything their editors tell them to. The two are probably not mutually exclusive.

While the Passionate Press would now be primarily bloggers – they have their roots in the pamphleteers of the 19th century – the writers of the Federalist Papers, for example. Today, I think of Erin Kotecki Vest and Dave Winer (and many others) as members of the Passionate Press covering the US election.

It’s tempting to say that the Passionate Press is merely a synonym of ‘the blogosphere’ but I think it is a sub-set with certain characteristics – I’m just not sure what they are.

I’m trying to decide if I’m on to something with this ‘Passionate Press’ thing or if I’m just making up a term for the sake of it.

Thoughts?

An Online Newspaper Makes a Mid-Course Correction

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

About two months ago I launched an online newspaper called the Cambridge Reporter. The response has been extraordinary with many of the city’s notable writers and columnists submitting opinion pieces and a variety of topics. I’ve also received a fair number of ‘Letters to the Editor’, usually with the complaint that the ‘other guy‘ refused to print them. These letters and opinion articles have generated reasonable conversation about issues that are important to the residents of Cambridge.

All of which is great, except that wasn’t the intent. The idea behind the Reporter was to give the traditional print guys a run for their money by crowd-sourcing the news – real news. The thought was that the 100k+ residents of the city could cover current events more efficiently than a handful of reporters.

Turns out folks want to talk about and debate the issues of the day, not report on them. Which, in retrospect, I should have anticipated. I grossly underestimated the potential for ‘news’ to be discerned from ‘opinion.’ I was actually expecting the opposite.

So, two months in, I’m making some slight changes to the layout to incorporate ‘opinion’ into the main news stream. I’m also re-positioning the Reporter as a place to discuss the news that’s being reported elsewhere. I will, of course, still accept news reports ‘from the field’, but it will not be the focus from now on.

If you haven’t already done so in the last two months or so, I’d appreciate hearing your feedback on the Reporter.