Your work in networked/citizen/collaborative journalism.
I am the editor of YourHub.com at the Rocky Mountain News. I helped launch one of the nation’s most ambitious citizen journalism projects in the spring of 2005. I came from a traditional newspaper background, working as a city editor, editorial page editor and reporter at dailies and a managing editor at semiweeklies. Since launching YourHub.com, I have helped other newspapers launch YourHub.com franchises and consulted with other newspapers and Web site operators launching hyperlocal citizen journalism sites. I don’t pretend to be an expert in this arena, there is no such thing. We’ve just figured out a way to make it work with what we have and I’m happy to share that knowledge with others.
What are your goals?
My goal is to have people in our community find YourHub.com a value to them. I want them to look forward to logging on to the Web site and receiving their print section every Thursday. I run YourHub.com in Colorado, so it’s important to me that Coloradans participate and find value in YourHub.com.
YourHub.com has registered over 34,000 members in the Denver metro area alone. We have 18 print sections just in Colorado. YourHub.com is now live in 8 states and poised to launch in more, admittedly with varied results. In Colorado alone we have more than 3,000 stories posted a month and more than 3,000 events a month.
Our biggest achievement has been the creation of an awesome online community that has become a large family of sorts. User gatherings we have held have been powerful and prove that this is an experiment worth going forward.
Lesson you’ve learned (including mistakes you’ve made)
One of our biggest mistakes I believe was launching too fast with a product not robust enough to do what we wanted. We should have launched a beta site first and got our feet a wet before diving in. Bells and whistles aren’t as important as being a site truly dedicated to citizen journalism, but it helps to have a site that works. We then tried to introduce functionality too fast while in a bad situation with our vendors. It would have been better for us and our vendors if we would have taken it a bit slower.
Are you getting revenue for this? How?
We have been in the black since our first year. Most of our revenue comes from print advertising.
What’s next? What do you need to get to the next level?
We need a Web site that is faster with more functionality including better social networking and video capability.