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The players

Paul Bass sent me a good synopsis of various citizens/hyperlocal projects. The list at The Media Center is also comprehensive, but this one (in the continuation) provides some detail on the varying business and content models for newcomers to the whole concept.

UPDATE: Ken Sands also has an overview and is impatient with the MSM’s adoption rate.

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Down (under) but not out

Last week I mentioned the seeming obsolescence of certain types of vendors that serve the print industry.

Mark Fletcher, who runs a News Agency (think Newsstand company) in Australia is thinking ahead and blogging about such things:

In Australia around 90% of newspapers are sold through newsagencies – a
channel of 4,600 retail and distribution businesses established for
this purpose. Almost all are privately and individually owned. The
future of newsagencies as we know them is inextricably linked to the
future of newspaper and magazine publishing and distribution – yet we
are not part of the conversation about future models for mainstream

With the blogging phenomenon newsagents have an opportunity
independently to claim territory in what is called the blogosphere.
Newsagencies could create BLOG POSTS – an in store kiosk like PC where
people can read or post – giving a bricks and mortar presence and
therefore greater person in the street relevance for blogging. This
fits with the movement citizen journalism where everyone is a journalist.  There are several models emerging including this model from Bluffton South Carolina.

I see BLOG POSTS in newsagency stores as the beginning. They
identify this old world bricks and mortar channel with the new
movement. They provide a relevance for the 18-34 year olds who are
shunning newspapers. They provide a starting point from which new
traffic generators and business opportunities for newsagents can evolve.

Pleased to meet you –Hope you guessed our names

A (hopefully) anticlimactic bit of housekeeping: Our Little Venture has moved beyond the stealth phase, as four of our key leaders are now full-time Pegasi. We’ve actually been "out of the closet" for about a month, but haven’t really been sure how to de-stealthify without making an unduly big deal out of it.

In fact, lacking any other clear reason to name names, we were thinking about trucking along as-is, just not taking any pains to hide our identities. (Mine, for instance, is easily found in a Google search.)

But I was chatting wedia with Dan Gillmor the other day, and he convinced me that it was important that everyone know who we are, even if we’re quite sure that no one knows "who we are." Something to do with that whole open-source and transparency thing we’ve been preaching.

So, here are the folks who are currently full-time engaged in our project. We’ll announce other members of our team as appropriate:

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So, several months ago, I started hearing folks — non-media-savvy folks, mind you — asking why newspapers couldn’t be more precise in their ad pricing.

Why can’t you charge the same way Google does, where I only pay for the clicks?

The demand was for something tangible and precise, something that couldn’t be fudged.

Or could it?

If only there was an even more precise metric. Hmm…

Faster, looser, cheaper

Having capriciously recommended it to a couple of our team members, I’m finally getting around to reading Michael Wolff’s Autumn of the Moguls, in anticipation of a talk he’s giving in Dallas later this month.

My wife just handed me an article he wrote for last month’s Vanity Fair (not online). Although it’s about the fall of network evening news, there was one passage that I found somewhat germane to Our Little Venture:

News, in anything but its most rarified form, was only ever commercial, local, cranky, ill-informed, cheap. Network news, on the other hand, established in the mid-50s was grand, Olympian, internationalist,  fair-minded, expensive (really expensive) — and for everybody.

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