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Oakland Local: News for the people

October 21, 2009

Hyperlocal. Citizen journalism.  User generated content. All of these new buzzwords are being thrown around as possible solutions to the current journalism crisis.  All around the country some really brilliant people are producing some really great projects in a collective  effort to save the news business.  Or at least to shape what comes after it’s demise.

We recently threw our hat into this idealistic ring with the hopes that we can better serve the Oakland public and turn some of those buzzwords into tangible next steps and a sustainable journalism model.  This past Monday we launched Oakland Local, a new hyperlocal news site that incorporates traditional journalism with multimedia, user generated content and citizen journalism all in one place.

The team includes Media Maven and editorial genius Susan Mernit, Amy Gahran a well known and highly respected mobile reporting, environmental and tech knowitall and me.   To be honest I’m not sure what I do yet, but hey-never underestimate the power of being cute.

Not to toot our own horn too much by the site is pretty innovative and inclusive.  Not only will the site feature reporting on crucial but often overlooked issues, we’re also offering forums, blogs, community updates and directories featuring 320 Oakland nonprofits and 180 active Oakland bloggers.

We’ve launched with the help of 35 respected local nonprofit, community and media organizations including Spot.us, Newsdesk.org, The Center for Investigative Reporting, New America Media, Endless Canvas, Youth Uprising, East Bay Asian Youth Center, Youth Radio and Youth Outlook. We also have a team of talented contributing bloggers and reporting and news blogging from a top quality news team, if I do say so myself.

Oakland is one of the most diverse cities in the country and capturing that diversity in one place is both the goal and the challenge of OL. We’ve been really diligent about reaching out to as many different types of people as possible, encouraging participation and soliciting various opinions.  We’re even holding weekly trainings on everything from how to register for the site and use the forums to how to use a Drupal CMS and create multimedia content.  We’ll see how everything pans out but so far we seem to be on the right track.

In the meantime, please take a look at the site, follow us on Twitter, friend us on Facebook, participate in the forums and post your events on the calendar.  Community participation is going to be the key to making this boat float.  There are a lot of voices that haven’t been heard by the mainstream media for various reasons.  This site is a chance to change that. But you can’t have a community news site without the community right?  Let us hear what you have to say.

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