Over at the PBS IdeaLab blog, I interviewed Michele Ellson, editor and publisher at The Island, a local news site devoted to covering the city of Alameda, which sits to the west of Oakland in San Francisco Bay. (Yes, it’s an island.)
Michele left newspapers in 2007 and launched The Island in early 2008, continuing a 17+ year journalism career. I worked with Michele on the regional desk at ANG, before it became BANG, but you know it more informally as the cluster of newspapers in the Bay Area owned by MediaNews. Back then, she was an investigative/enterprise reporter winning awards for a long series on the failures of group homes for young people and the developmentally disabled.
I talked with Michele about moving from a print-focused newsroom to a Web-only culture where she is the reporter, editor, community manager, and communications officer of her own organization:
“That’s another thing that I think was a shock for me in moving from print to online – the shift in what your readers want and expect from you in terms of their psychic needs (which shift from information to attention-getting, sometimes) and the kind of engagement they anticipate. I figure it’ll take a lot of work for me to fine-tune that engagement level.”