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Community / Citizen Journalism in Northfield, Minnesota

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A presentation on the history of Northfield Citizens Online and its website, northfield.org

Published in: Economy & Finance, Technology
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Community / Citizen Journalism in Northfield, Minnesota

  1. 1. Citizen/Community Journalism Griff Wigley Wigley and Associates WigleyAndAssociates.com LeadershipBlogging.com
  2. 2. Northfield Citizens Online Northfield.org <ul><li>Pop: 17,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Carleton, St. Olaf Colleges </li></ul><ul><li>Defeat of Jesse James Days </li></ul><ul><li>“ Cows, Colleges, Contentment” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Northfield.org timeline <ul><li>Living room salon – 1991 </li></ul><ul><li>FreeNet BBS - 1993 </li></ul><ul><li>Nonprofit 501c3 - 1995 </li></ul><ul><li>Web Café Message Board, Community forums: radio, print, F2F, online - 1996 </li></ul><ul><li>Weblog format – 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Photo gallery - 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>Civic blogosphere project – 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Citizen podcast – 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Memberships, sponsorships, managing editor - 2006 </li></ul>
  4. 4. March, 1991 issue of Utne Reader
  5. 5. Dec ‘91 topic: How can the internet be used to strengthen a geographic community rather than undermining it?
  6. 6. Why an independent non-profit? <ul><li>Mission: “An electronic commons that strengthens the fabric of community” </li></ul><ul><li>Considered being part of the city (library), the school district (community ed), LWV, hospital </li></ul><ul><li>We chose independence to better serve our mission, which might not always align with the missions of existing organizations or institutions (similar to a newspaper) </li></ul><ul><li>Fundraising </li></ul>
  7. 7. Northfield.org Web Café & ISSUES List <ul><li>1995-2002: Web Café Message board (moderated) </li></ul><ul><li>2002-2006: ISSUES email discussion list (moderated) </li></ul><ul><li>Winter 2006: both </li></ul>
  8. 8. Northfield.org Community Forums <ul><li>One issue for two weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Newspaper </li></ul><ul><li>Radio </li></ul><ul><li>Face-to-face </li></ul><ul><li>Online (with guest panelists & a moderator) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Northfield.org Community Photos 2003-present (6,000 photos)
  10. 10. Historical Society Auction photos 2003-06
  11. 11. 200 citizen-submitted photos, 6 videos Aug ‘06 hailstorm
  12. 12. Northfield Civic Leader Bloggers 2003 <ul><li>Minnesota State Representative Ray Cox </li></ul><ul><li>Eden Prairie City Manager Scott Neal (formerly Northfield) </li></ul><ul><li>Northfield Chief of Police Gary Smith </li></ul>
  13. 13. Leadership Blogging A blog allows you to leverage your leadership activities & interactions with strategic storytelling
  14. 14. UK visit, summer 2004
  15. 15. Civic leader bloggers 2005
  16. 16. Civic/citizen Journalism <ul><li>&quot;Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.” - AJ Liebling </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs can be started and maintained at no cost </li></ul><ul><li>Citizens and civic leaders as amateur journalists; not just consumers of information but producers </li></ul>
  17. 17. Lesson of the blogosphere <ul><li>A cluster of knowledgeable, motivated bloggers can sometimes be collectively better informed than </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the media about a story </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a company about its products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>government officials about an issue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gannett’s “crowdsourcing” initiative </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Range of citizen e-participation <ul><li>Visiting/reading/forwarding (lurking) & then talking about it </li></ul><ul><li>Straw poll, rate-this-post </li></ul><ul><li>Submit an event </li></ul><ul><li>Blog comment </li></ul><ul><li>Message board/email list comment </li></ul><ul><li>Submit photo, story, news item </li></ul><ul><li>Start a blog </li></ul><ul><li>Start a podcast </li></ul>
  19. 19. Straw poll
  20. 20. Submit Event
  21. 21. Attach a blog comment
  22. 22. Forum or email list comments
  23. 23. Submit photo, story, news item
  24. 24. Start a blog – non profit exec
  25. 25. Northfield’s Civic Blogosphere
  26. 26. Start a blog – citizen
  27. 27. Start a podcast (internet radio show) Locally Grown: a weekly Northfield issues podcast www.locallygrownnorthfield.org
  28. 28. RSS <ul><li>RSS: Really Simple Syndication </li></ul><ul><li>Allows visitors to subscribe w/ newsreader (aggregator) </li></ul>
  29. 29. NY Times RSS Feeds
  30. 30. Community aggregator via RSS <ul><li>Allows a community site to aggregate all the blogs in the area </li></ul>
  31. 31. The principle of RSS as community aggregator <ul><li>Like a good family, it allows autonomy while creating belongingness </li></ul><ul><li>A community blog/web portal brings needed eyeballs to new bloggers </li></ul><ul><li>Allows you to ignore the trash, flakes, blowhards </li></ul>
  32. 32. Editorial control still important
  33. 33. Financial sustainability <ul><li>Public radio model </li></ul><ul><li>Grants </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsorships </li></ul><ul><li>Banner ads </li></ul><ul><li>Memberships / pledges </li></ul>
  34. 34. Traffic signal - citizen blog entry Jan. 05
  35. 35. Traffic signal - Issues forum Jan. 05
  36. 36. Traffic signal - Mayor’s task force Feb 05
  37. 37. Traffic signal - Straw poll Oct. 05 <ul><li>Citizen produced using the Issues forum </li></ul>
  38. 38. Traffic light - Consultant support Nov. 05
  39. 39. Traffic signal - Council action Dec. 05
  40. 40. Traffic signal - blogging updates Feb. 06
  41. 41. Citizen/Community Journalism Griff Wigley WigleyAndAssociates.com LeadershipBlogging.com Northfield.org LocallyGrownNorthfield.org

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