Seattle Times is making SMART moves!!!!

Hey — did you catch this?

The Seattle Times partners with neighborhood news blogs

and from the horse’s mouth itself:

Seattle Times partners with neighborhood news sites

The partnership is part of a project made possible by a grant from J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, which is in turn financed by the Knight Foundation.

and from WestSeattleBlog, with 25 comments:

WSB to collaborate with the Northwest’s biggest news organization

and from J-Lab, which announced the project that’s funded by the Knight Foundation:

Five News Organizations Join Networked Journalism Project

This is terrific. Remember that post I did a while ago?  A Modest Proposal for the Seattle Times?

I hope this is the first step of the transition of that organization, with its deep commitment to journalism and its expertise in Seattle issues. Perhaps they’ll eventually develop a structure similar to the metro news ecology matrix (again, pardon the execution of the graphic) I put together. For those of you who missed it the first time, here it is again.

minimetrominiThis could be a win-win approach for all folks committed to making sure that the Seattle community continues to be served by jurnos and journalism. Moving from a we-talk-you-listen approach to a solution-oriented collaborative conversation that’s embedded in a matrix of context and continuity is the only way to go. And, contrary to the poor reporting in the traditional media about the evolution of niche news organizations, the effort already is and can be supported by advertising, because businesses that provide products and services are an important part of the community, and their information is news and information, too.

For a list of niche news organizations that are ad-supported, check out the Jurnos wiki.

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THIS popped the inertia bubble

THIS is:

The model works only if a bunch of salespeople pound the pavement, or if a company like AOL with a network of large advertisers offers them geo-targeted ads as part of a bigger package, said Greg Sterling, an analyst who blogs about these issues at Screenwerk. “I suspect The Washington Post maybe made assumptions about acquiring advertisers that didn’t turn out to be true,” he said.

Soooooo….this means that WestSeattleBlog, QuincyNews.org, Baristanet — all the asterisk-marked news organizations on the Jurnos wiki are what…..faking it? actually living off lottery winnings? being supported by a rich uncle?

The article in the NYTimes, from which I quoted (above)  — Washington Post Ends Hyperlocal News — has been sitting in a row of Firefox browser tabs for a week while I denialdecided whether to say something about it. I do my best to ignore bad reporting like this. I try to focus on creating new methods and structures to ensure that journalism’s vital role in our communities continues. But traditional media doesn’t seem to do much else except bad reporting about this subject. I’ll just put the transition to conversation-based and niche news in with the categories of coverage of the runup and first two years of the Iraq War, the U.S. financial crisis, and crime reporting.

There are some issues and developments that whole cultures (cultures within news organizations, cultures within governments, etc.) deny, even though they occur right in front of their eyes. Nassim Nicholas Taleb described the phenomenon in The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, Ori Brafman and Ron Brafman did the same in Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior.

The crack that formed between traditional we-talk-you-listen mass media and conversational niche media over the last couple of years has grown to a chasm. What much of traditional media doesn’t grok yet is that great swaths of niche media are going their own way, while traditional media marches on into irrelevancy. Sad, very sad. [Cross-posted in RJICollaboratory]

Oh, yeah: Sorry for the long absence. The new job’s been taking up all my time.