The Miami Herald and Partners Launch Local Online News Initiative

MiamiFor the past six months, The Miami Herald and a handful of South Florida community news publishers have been working on a new online approach to covering local news for the South Florida area, according to a report from the paper’s Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal.

Despite the fact that South Florida newspapers, magazines and journals have been struggling over the past few years — just like their counterparts across the country — the need for community journalism is still strong. To address the issue, The Miami Herald has teamed up with partners from traditional news publishers, start-ups and community websites from all over South Florida to strengthen local news reporting.

In an earlier piece, Partnership Project Takes Community News To Next Level, Gyllenhaal states:

The idea is to mix the long-standing traditions of community journalism — neighborhood news, schools reporting, municipal coverage, profiles, columns and letters — with growing modern digital tools. Most importantly, this string of online sites hopes to make full use of the exchange with readers that modern journalism is becoming.

Last week, The Miami Herald integrated some of this collaboration onto its homepage, in a section called “Neighbors Community.” By playing around with this new feature (you can find the section toward the bottom of the homepage, under a yellow bar), you can tell that it’s a work in progress. Most of the links don’t work, and it seems a bit unorganized and confusing.

Gyllenhaal writes that the goal is to “create a state-of-the-art network that is at once intensely local — and also part of a broader partnership that works together, splits revenues and shares breakthroughs.” The idea is on target, but so far the execution has fallen short.

The links that do work in the “Neighbors Community” point to stories throughout The Miami Herald’s site rather than linking to some of the sites and blogs of their partners. To me, the word “network” means more than one news organization doing the reporting. I’d like to see links to articles, posts and commentary on different community news websites, as opposed to just The Miami Herald’s. This would help bring more credibility to local reports, drive traffic to the websites of struggling news organizations, and generate additional revenue from ads on sites beyond The Miami Herald’s homepage.

I’ll check back to see how this initiative improves, and whether The Miami Herald can create an effective network for local South Florida news coverage.

SOURCE: “We’re covering your community with our new partners,” 12/27/09
SOURCE: “Partnership project takes community news to next level,” 8/23/09
Photo courtesy of Nimo Photography, used under its Creative Commons license.

About David Reich

David Reich is co-founder and CEO of SixEstate, blending a background in traditional marketing and public relations with over 5 years of experience managing hundreds of online marketing campaigns for all kinds of organizations -- from small businesses and nonprofits to public companies. David is responsible for keeping SixEstate and its clients at the forefront of the rapidly evolving search and content marketing landscape. Connect with David on Twitter, Google+ or via email.


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