Volunteer to use craigslist to save community journalism

Craig Newmark has said, ” … there’s no substitute for professional writing, no substitute for professional editing, and no substitute for professional fact checking …”

He’s been public about his appreciation for journalism in a number of ways, and in fact he’s invested in things like New Assignment.

Many people seem to think Newmark’s craigslist is destroying journalism as we’ve known it. I’ve been critical of this notion, but there’s no doubt that craiglist is one of the disruptors hurting the newspaper business.

Earlier I responded to Scott Karp’s call to save newspaper journalism (not necessarily newspapers) through volunteerism.

In later reading over the comments to Scott’s original post, a notion struck me: Why not use volunteerism through craigslist to promote the value of newspaper websites?

Surely, Craig wouldn’t object. Newspapers have traditionally been the glue that binds communities together. They are valuable institutions that do important civic work. Given Craig’s pronounements on the value of community journalism, a grassroots campaign to promote the good things on newspapers’ websites would be something he would applaud, right?

Now, technically, linking out to a “commercial” web site is a violation of the TOS, but given posts on craigslist like this, this and this, that doesn’t seem to bother Craig or his staff too much.

In that spirit, I posted a little something that Bakersfield.com is doing as a valuable community service: a mash up to report potholes.

Note the example here: Not a general, “hey, this web site is great,” but a specific service that fits within craigslist’s sense of community value.

So, if you value local community journalism, go find something on your local newspaper.com and post a bulletin about it on your local craigslist. Support your local community.

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4 thoughts on “Volunteer to use craigslist to save community journalism

  1. Howard,

    I’ll qualify your suggestion to the motto, “If you can’t beat em, join em!” Not a bad way to drive new users to your site, but not sure it is going to change the world.

    I am more interested in your use of the ZeeMaps for the pot hole issue. I think it is a great use of the technology. I think more publications have to start thinking this way. Rather than shoveling print online, actually use the web to extend what you are doing in your print format.

    I will say as a user I found the application a little frustrating. It was not and still is not clear to me what I have to do to add to the map. Great potential though.

  2. Just to clarify. I am not currently affiliated with Bakersfield in any way. And the pothole map was created long after I left Bakersfield.com

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