I was listening to a podcast about a new concept for having news reported. The concept is that people put money into a pot, and when the pot reaches a given amount someone will write a story. The stories, from what I remember, aren't about typical local news, but more about local investigative journalism.
One of the arguments the creator mentioned was that local TV, newspapers, etc. spend a lot of time covering national and global stories, and have left meaningful local coverage mediocre. I don't read newspapers (or their sites for that matter), and seldom turn on TV news – but the times that I have seen them, he's spot on. One of the reasons I stopped reading/watching is that local news is about sensationalism… murder and mayhem, and celebrity.
Enter the blog.
When I stumble upon local blogs, they're usually covering topics of larger scope (maybe national) but with a local twist. How does the story affect them and what is the author's perspective on it. Sometimes though, it may be a story on a local sporting event, or a meetup of some kind. In my circles, these things also cover lots of business subjects… investing, entrepreneurship, etc. No matter the subject, there is a local flavor to the stories.
Create an aggregation site that blog authors subscribe to (free of course) with the express goal of providing a local “newspaper” powered by the citizens of a given market. You would be able to drill down in a Craigslist style navigation to a city or town, then see stories in given subject areas from people that actually live and work in that area. All of the typical newspaper categories would exist: business, sports, arts, movies, activities, etc.
When an author writes a story, they would have to apply it to given categories. The readers could gauge whether or not the story is actually on topic, and stories and authors could be rated for quality. These ratings would determine what floats to the front page, digg style. If you want to have fun, you could offer a payment for the author based on the revenues they generate for the site… but that is a bonus for participating, not an expectation.
If you decide to build this, let me know… I'd subscribe to the RSS feed at the very least.
What do you think?