How would you rank your interest in news, by proximity? International vs. national vs. local vs. neighborhood?
From FPF member Joanne… Last week we held the 17th annual used bike and sewing machine collection for Pedals for Progress (Yep – PFP).
We’re a group of mostly former Peace Corps volunteers who hold this annual event to send practical technology to self-help projects on 4 continents. Since 1999, we’ve sent over 3,000 bikes and 150 sewing machines to partners in Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Ghana, among others.
We do not have a budget for marketing (or for anything else) and we count on getting the word out through workplace bulletin boards, organizations, churches, etc. We always beg and hope for a little blurb in the Burlington Free Press. But our main focus this year was to ask friends to post a blurb on their Front Porch Forum. Our goal was to get it on at least 10 – 15 neighborhood/town forums in Chittenden County.
This year, not a word appeared in the Burlington Free Press. But we collected 145 bikes and 55 sewing machines! We asked – as we always do – how people heard about the opportunity to donate. And the single most frequent answer – by a long shot – was “My neighborhood Front Porch Forum.”
SO, PFP sends love and thanks to FPF. My husband and I are monthly FPF Supporting Members, and we encourage our friends and contacts to donate as well.
It was a presentation months in the making.
Titled “THIS is Journalism,” the presentation carried enormous expectations as the ending plenary to our conference that asked that very question: What is Journalism? Luckily, we had help from many whose tweets illuminated emerging forms of journalism in unexpected places.
Earlier this year, the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication’s (SOJC) Agora Journalism Center launched the #THISisJournalism social media campaign and website. #THISisJournalism is a collection of transformative projects that challenges our definition of journalism while also serving the functions of journalism to enhance public knowledge and enrich civic life…
They go on to share summaries of a many new online services that contribute to journalism today, including Front Porch Forum.
Vermonters use their local Front Porch Forum to connect with neighbors, to engage local public officials, to see current offerings from local businesses, to hear of services from area nonprofits, and more.
Vermont journalists use FPF too. See some interesting news stories that started from or were informed by local FPF postings…
What’s Happening to Northfield’s Tabby Cats?
The Northfield News
Seen A Mysterious Helicopter Lately? Relax, It Was Seeding Cover Crop
Vermont Public Radio
Firewood scarce; events last winter affected the supply
Heard on the Street: Route 12 to Get a Facelift
The Bridge (Montpelier)
Why It’s Hard to Find Firewood This Year
#VT – How fortunate we are in Bristol to have Front Porch Forum at our disposal. I certainly hope that someone is recording all these postings using some media that is not ephemeral (imagine if the Constitution had been recorded on 8 track?) as future generations may be able to use current Front Porch Forum postings the way our generations use the old Bristol Heralds- a view into a time gone by.
I was talking with a good friend the other day who had been considering starting up another newspaper that would deal with only local issues, much like the last several efforts to do the same but which all met an early demise. We don’t need another newspaper- we have Front Porch Forum which meets all those needs.
I just hope that future generations can enjoy this as much as we do and that they will be able to look back to our time and try to understand the issues that confront us in the same way that we use old publications in our quest to understand the issues of earlier times, and as George Santayana observed, “Those who cannot learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”
Shared by Ted with his Bristol, Vermont, neighbors on their FPF today.
And they’re not alone… ABC22/Fox44 local news covered a Burlington break-in via FPF this week, and the Burlington Free Press, VPR, WCAX, and many community newspaper frequently turn to FPF.
We love it. FPF helps local traditional media find story leads. And we help grow the audience for the stories that they report. We’ve heard many times from FPF members who rarely tuned into local news before signing up for their Front Porch Forums… and now they pay more attention to community issues. Strong and vibrant local media… it’s crucial for our democracy and we’re honored to play our role.
UPDATE: Just saw these tweets…
According to a new Pew study released yesterday 72% of Americans follow local news closely. Some interesting tidbits…
Nearly three quarters (72%) of adults are quite attached to following local news and information, and local newspapers are by far the source they rely on for much of the local information they need. In fact, local news enthusiasts are substantially more wedded to their local newspapers than others. They are much more likely than others to say that if their local newspaper vanished, it would have a major impact on their ability to get the local information they want.
It seems likely that Front Porch Forum members draw more from this portion of the population as well. In Burlington, Vt., for example, FPF has 10,000 members out of the 16,000 households in the city. More from Pew…
Local news consumers are more connected to their communities than others, both in length of time in the community and in their connection with neighbors, and more likely to think they can improve their communities. Roughly three in 10 have lived in their community 20 years or longer (32% vs. 20% of others), and thus not surprisingly are more likely to know all of their neighbors. This is driven largely by local news enthusiasts age 40 and older. As a whole, local news enthusiasts are also slightly more likely than other adults to believe they can have a big impact on making their community a better place to live.
Less than half of these local news enthusiasts use online social networking (6% less than other adults), and less than 1 in 10 use Twitter, although 78% use email and the internet…
Pew states that these local news enthusiasts know their neighbors more than others…
And that they believe more than others that they can have a positive impact on the place where they live…
Out of Pew’s sample, 7% of the local news hounds reported using neighborhood e-newsletters…
#BTV #VT – Great point from Joan in Burlington’s Lakeside neighborhood today…
I have been doing some genealogy research lately and came across this:
“March 19, 1887 Yonkers Statesman: Thomas Mitchell of Webster Avenue who has been suffering for two weeks past with rheumatism and throat affection is able to be out again.”
Looks like back in the day the newspaper actually watched our for the community. I think Front Porch Forum is filling that nitch today (I know the Free Press certainly isn’t). If you are holed up and need a little help at some point, I hope you’ll let your neighbors know. We’ll bring soup.
See you at the rink!
Apparently not even the New York Times knew one of their two co-founders hailed from Vermont! Posted by Bob Isherwood on Front Porch Forum today…
George Jones, born 200 years ago on this date in Poultney, Vt. was a co-founder of the New York Times. Jones was noted for his honesty, which he, in part, attributed to his Welsh upbringing, especially tested when he, as publisher in the 1870’s, help to bring to light the corruptness of “Boss” Tweed.
This e-VermontFront Porch Forum “social media special” is provided with thanks to David W. Dunlap of The New York Times. The New York Times of 2011 is in the forefront of the debate/discussion of how a traditional daily newspaper stays relevant in today’s online, immediate access to news reality.
From Lost Remote today…
AOL is acquiring the hyperlocal blog aggregator Outside.in for $10 million, reports TechCrunch. That’s $4.4 million less than Outside.in’s total funding to date. As you might imagine, AOL plans to integrate Outside.in’s aggregation in Patch, its network of hyperlocal news sites.
The acquisition means that Patch can beef up its coverage through aggregation, which conceivably would include links to competing hyperlocal newspapers and blogs. Or similarly, Patch can reduce its original coverage by relying more on aggregation. Either way, today’s news illustrates that AOL is still invested in Patch’s success.
UPDATE 2: Mathew Ingram has a good take on all this on GigaOm.
Ghost of Midnight is an online journal about fostering community within neighborhoods, with a special focus on Front Porch Forum (FPF). My wife, Valerie, and I founded FPF in 2006... read more