[If you’re reading this in late April 2008, I’ve managed to post something on time for this month’s Carnival of Journalism, hosted by Yoni Greenbaum this time around.]
Lately, when failing revenues and/or an ill-fated JOA results in a newspaper closing up shop, there’s talk of “what if” they continued publishing online, but I have yet to see anyone actually pull it off.
And this is where the update will go when twelve of you tell me about papers that have shut down in print but stayed online. I’ve definitely seen signs of papers that have switched from daily to weekly and boosted their online presence, but what I’m after are examples of papers that have totally folded, but rebuilt themselves as an online-only news source in town.
Once you get past the ugly preliminary steps (think: layoffs, dismantling the press, moving into a far smaller space), the fun part (yes, yes, perfectly aware of how flip I’m being about the ugly part) starts:
What tools do you hand a few reporters and photographers (and readers) to start from scratch?
My short list:
- Drupal, for built-in community, commenting, reader blogs, and profiles, plus integration with third-party services like Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, and news aggregation.
- Nokia N95 or similar phones for live video via Qik, live text coverage of local events, and calling in audio reports. Lots of this should flow live to the site, unedited.
- Laptops with wireless cards to file stories from anywhere, anytime.
Also, a good pair of walking shoes, because your reporters are going to be out in the community all day long, walking their beat and getting to know the locals. This is not a job you can do from behind a desk. If you didn’t leave the newsroom today, think about talking to a source in person tomorrow.
What’s on your short list of must-haves for reporters starting a local news site from scratch?