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Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

Local Online News in #VT

Champlain College Publishing Initiative ran an interesting piece about local online news recently.  Writer Melinda Grey ends with…

As a foretaste of things to come, check out this remarkable link. It’s an item that was recently posted on our Front Porch Forum (speaking of hyperlocal) after yet another day of heavy rain and flooding in Burlington.

Is this the future of local news? And does this suggest that Front Porch Forum may be one model for the hyperlocal news medium of the future?

Her colleague Tim Brookes added…

… events have shown how prophetic Melinda’s observations were. One of the photos of the Booth Street flood we recommended (originally posted as a link on Front Porch Forum) showed up on the front cover of this week’s Seven Days.

This raises some fascinating questions. If a newsweekly picks up a photo from Front Porch Forum, doesn’t that identify the original item as being news, and thus, by implication, identify Front Porch Forum as a hyperlocal online news entity, at least in part? Does this imply that the world is full of sources of what might be called “raw” news, in the sense that reality TV uses security camera feeds as raw footage? It also suggests that this kind of reader-driven content is the print medium’s equivalent of “open source” material–but only up to a point…

Indeed, this kind of thing happens with Front Porch Forum nearly every week. A local citizen posts something on FPF to share with nearby neighbors and then one or more traditional media outlets pick it up and builds a story. We appreciate when the news outlets give proper attribution so their audience knows where they got the lead… but that occurs less than half the time.

As a 2010 Knight News Challenge award winner, FPF is increasingly seen as a new part of the local news and community conversation ecosystem… a quickly evolving environment.

Posted in: Burlington, Citizen Journalism, Democracy, Front Porch Forum, Knight Foundation, Local Online, MacArthur Fellows, Media, Neighborhood, Social Media, Vermont


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