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It seems that the functionality for Congressional District based publishing is starting to emerge


Tribune rolling out 'hyperlocal' Web site

By Michael Oneal Tribune staff reporter Published April 19, 2007

Taking a tentative step into a brave new world of community-generated journalism, the Chicago Tribune will launch a Web site Thursday designed to allow readers in the far western and southern suburbs to post their own stories, write blogs and otherwise become what the newspaper company is calling "citizen contributors."

Triblocal.com will have a staff of four journalists charged with drumming up stories in an initial target area of nine towns.

But the site, which will be largely unedited and self-policing, is designed to let citizens and organizations publish their own stories and post everything from high school team photos to favorite restaurant menus.

"You'll work side by side with Triblocal.com's editorial staff to produce coverage of your community," the site's home page says. "Get involved!"

Triblocal will start with one site that has a home page for each community: Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, Elburn and Maple Park in the west; Tinley Park, Orland Park, Orland Hills and Homer Glen in the south.

Ted Biedron, president of the Tribune division that created the site, said the company plans to expand that list. And in a twist on the old model, Biedron said, Tribune hopes to "reverse publish" the content on the sites. It will pick the best pieces each week and print them in a tabloid-format paper that will be packaged with the Tribune.

The move comes at a time when the financial outlook for newspapers has never been darker. With circulation and ad revenue flowing to the Internet, papers are scrambling.

The popularity of sites like MySpace.com has convinced many publishers there is value in letting readers create "content." And local papers are trying to re-engage readers with "hyperlocal" coverage, the minutiae of local community life that the rest of the media ignore.

"This started with the question of how can we make the paper more relevant to readers who continue to live further and further away from the center city," Biedron said.

But is it journalism?

The top story in the Batavia section is a piece quoting real estate agents insisting the local housing market is "blooming," despite the national real estate slump. It is accompanied by pictures of a home for sale that could be mistaken for content on a real-estate sales site.

There is also the danger an unedited site could attract direct sales pitches or inappropriate content.

One top editor at the Chicago Tribune said the paper studied other community-journalism efforts and discovered that users tend to ostracize other users who break the rules.

As for the journalism, this editor said, "this is a whole different view of what can be news. It's the very local feeling of a town square. Everything is news in the town square."


Tribune's effort is modeled on a similar site in Denver called YourHub.com, which is produced by the Rocky Mountain News. John Temple, the paper's editor, said that in the current environment, newspapers must experiment to survive.


"It's inevitable that traditional journalists are going to view this as inferior, almost ridiculous," Temple said of the type of content on YourHub. "But anything that brings people into the public discussion is potentially valuable."


He said some YourHub content is questionable. But then comes a situation like the time a local jurisdiction planned a land swap that needed a public vote. A concerned citizen glommed onto the issue, "and the coverage played out in a much richer way than it would have in the Rocky Mountain News," Temple said.

"This is primitive, and it's not where it ends up, perhaps," he added. "But for a paper like the Chicago Tribune to open the door for anybody to participate is a very big step."





Kodak Microzone Publishing Solution - Chicago Tribune newspaper

Chicago Tribune is the first newspaper in the country to use the Kodak Microzone Publishing Solution. In March, Chicago Tribune began using the Kodak solution to create branded TribLocal websites and microzone print products for readers and advertisers in the Chicago area. “The world is changing. Instead of publishers offering a one way download of information to consumers, newspapers need to provide two way communications. People are going to ask for what they want, and we need todeliver it in order to stay relevant, both in print and on the web. We expect the Kodak Microzone Publishing Solution to do just that, and to be an engine for growth for the Chicago Tribune,” said Ted Biedron, President of Chicagoland Publishing Co., a Chicago Tribune subsidiary. “The Kodak Microzone Publishing Solution provides a way for readers and advertisers to intuitively communicate with each other and with us. From a print publishing standpoint, the solution provides an efficient, scalable way to handle the content that is provided by and for the community. It also enables us to leverage our existing distribution system.”


Microzone newspapers

Typical microzones consist of 5,000 to 10,000 households. The newly created print publications and websites allow local businesses and organizations to reach core audiences in a much more targeted fashion with news and advertising messages. “We decided to partner with Kodak because they view newspapers as a core strategic segment in their business and we wanted to work with a company that is committed to serving the changing needs of this industry,” said David Monks, Business Development, ATS New Media Group. “The Kodak Microzone Publishing Solution enables the economical production of targeted microzone newspapers that serve the unique needs of ‘very local’ community markets. This opens a variety of options important to the growth of newspapers.”


Kodak Microzone Citizen Journalism Portal

The Kodak Microzone Publishing Solution consists of three products that can be used as an integrated unit or function independently. The Kodak Microzone Citizen Journalism Portal allows local citizen journalists to submit stories, photographs and community event listings for use in print and online products. The Kodak Microzone Advertising Portal enables advertisers to create and place ads, as well as manage and store the ads they create, and pay for the media space using a secure credit card system. The Kodak Microzone Publishing Management System enables newspaper publishers to assemble content, edit copy, format pages, and publish output for print and online versions.


News content ranking

“The beauty of the Kodak Microzone Publishing Solution is that it is scaleable, and it allows newspapers to get much closer to their readers and advertisers, while at the same time automating much of the work required to produce a number of highly targeted editions,” said Swanson. “News content can be ranked and selected by various ranking criteria and prescreened using keywords and phrases.”read more



ATS Microzone Publishing's Editorial Component from Creative Circle

By E&P Staff Published: April 27, 2007 5:45 PM ET

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NEW YORK Publishing solutions supplier Advanced Technical Solutions, Acton, Mass., announced at Nexpo the availability of its Microzone Publishing Solution, designed to promote new products and revenue streams for newspapers through delivery of relevant content to targeted local markets economically through branded community Web sites and associated print products.


The solution enables "citizen journalists" to contribute stories, list events and submit photos for publication on community Web sites and in community newspapers. (See E&P Online, April 10.)


Based on their new partnership, ATS and Eastman Kodak Co. will jointly sell and support this solution as the Kodak Microzone Publishing Solution, consisting of three components that can be used as an integrated unit or function independently.


The Microzone Advertising Portal enables advertisers to create, place, manage, store and pay for ads using a secure credit card system. This component was built on a platform supplied by Bluefin Technology Partners LLC, Andover, Mass. The Microzone Citizen Journalism Portal was built on a platform supplied by Creative Circle Advertising Solutions Inc., Providence, R.I. Both components will be delivered through an application service provider approach.


The Microzone Publishing Management System enables newspaper publishers to assemble content taken from the Web dynamically, edit copy, format pages and publish output for print and online versions. This is the heart of the solution and enables economic scaling of a micro-zone publishing environment. ATS developed this component by leveraging its existing technology.

read more

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