Friday, February 04, 2005

Some mainstream media companies get it

Howard Owens, Director of New Media at the Ventura County Star, recently sent the following message to The Poynter Institute's online news mailing list:

Our online editor, Alicia Hoffman, will be adding the role of citizen journalism/user-content specialist to her duties.

We see blogs, forums, photo blogs and other forms of citizen journalism as a significant part of the online news world. Our readers want to be part of the process of sharing the news and shaping the news. Technology is giving them the tools to do it, and as Dan Gillmor has pointed out, our readers often know more than we do. They can also be more places than we can.
And, they also know what interests them and what news they want in ways that traditional, top-down journalism might miss. We need to give appropriate attention to this growing facet of our business.

Alicia's primary duties as online editor do not change, but the focus of her job will be different. She will pay close attention to how we're interacting with our readers and the content and business opportunities that emerge, and help to shape our evolving strategy. She will guide us in the world of "journalism as a conversation" as we develop as
the online community center for Ventura County. Our current plan is to grow organically in this area rather than push any one big initiative. We have blogs, forums and photo blogs now. We will work to grow these and help promote citizen journalism in Ventura County.

The Ventura County Star is a 90,000+ circulation daily newspaper that covers six towns just north of LA. It is owned by the E.W. Scripps Co., an old-time newspaper company if such a thing can still be said to exist (the company was founded in 1878.)

It's nice to see a company that's willing to jump on a technology-driven trend rather than fight it tooth and nail.

(Thanks for letting me post this, Howard.)