Readers invited to become part of creating The Morning Journal
That's a one-way process, with the editor making the decisions and the readers catching whatever the editor throws their way. Aside from writing letters to the editor, readers are passive consumers, rather than active participants in deciding what the news is, what stories they will see and what questions will be asked to create those stories.
Not anymore. That whole model is changing at The Morning Journal and our parent firm, Journal Register Company and its 17 other daily newspapers and many weekly papers.
Now, we want you to tell us what stories you would like to see covered that are not already being covered. What questions do you want the answers to? What problems need uncovering? What solutions to community problems are being overlooked?
On July 4, 2010 -- the 234th anniversary of American independence -- The Morning Journal and other JRC daily newspapers will declare their independence from the traditional newspaper business. We will publish in print and online, providing news stories that have been suggested and developed with the involvement of readers. These papers and websites will be made using only free tools available on the Internet rather than the proprietary software and systems typically used in this industry to make a newspaper and its website.
It's all part of the second wave of the Ben Franklin Project initiated by John Paton, the new CEO of JRC, who is transforming the traditional newspaper company into a media company that uses the web and digital technology to bring readers from the outside to the inside of the news gathering process. The first JRC Ben Franklin papers were successfully published last week in Lake County, Ohio, and Perkasie, Pa.
By expanding the Ben Franklin Project, readers' needs and wants will be better-served. The newspapers themselves will show how to become independent of older technologies whose expense and limitations can be barriers. JRC newspapers will become more involved in their communities by making readers a part of the process of creating the paper and website.
It all comes down to this: I want to know what stories you would like to see covered that we are not already writing, or not writing fully. Who should we be talking to, and what should we be asking to get the whole story? Under the traditional system, we've written stories and then days later heard from readers who have provided new tips, facts or insights that, when we followed up, made the story more complete, and put it more clearly in context.
So, now, instead of waiting to hear from readers after the fact, we're asking them to become part of the process from the beginning by suggesting story ideas, questions to ask and sources of information to make the story complete.
I'll have more to share as our Ben Franklin publication deadline nears. Please join us in this historic effort. We are literally reinventing the newspaper business to best serve 21st century readers, and we need your help to get the job done.
Share your ideas and suggestions by clicking on the comment link below. Or, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .