A few days ago, Dave Winer wrote:
“I’ve said it many times before, it’s worth raising again. Any newspaper or radio or TV station with a good reputation in its community could embrace the fresh ideas of the bloggers in their community by offering free blogs to members of the community, who may be new to blogging. I suggested this to the Times in 2001 — when a person is quoted in a Times article, a few days after the piece runs, contact them, and ask if they’d like to have a NY Times hosted blog. There would be no control over what appeared on the blog.”
He’s talking about the New York Times and letting sources have a space to speak without the intermediation of the reporter (and editors). (Is that accurate, Dave?).
Newspaper-hosted reader blogs and local blog aggregators are starting to pop up all over the place. That’s one approach: Become the community water cooler by giving the chatty folks a place to do their thing.
Dave’s idea has a similar root to the recently announced and denounced Google News commenting feature: Give the people who give you quotes a place to add context and elaboration.
My first instinct — and I think it’s a good one — is to recommend that every newspaper offer the usual suspects — local politicians, gadflies, and activists — their own blogs on the paper’s site. It seems like such a no-brainer, I can already think of six or seven people in my town I would call up today and offer blogs to. Maybe I will.