Where Newspapers Can Start the Conversation
Newspapers, with few exceptions, are strangely oblivious to the huge opportunity in citizen journalism. More than almost any other entities, they could be taking advantage of their innate advantages. Yet they are not.
Yes, newspapers have been losing circulation and power, but they retain a surprisingly deep reservoir of credibility and authority in their communities. The reservoir must be replenished, and it is the citizens who -- given the opportunity -- will be able, and perhaps glad, to help.
The key is in having the conversation with the community and, even more, helping community members have a conversation among themselves. Newspapers, given their positions, can be at the center of this conversation -- not the object of it in most cases, but the enabler and, to some extent, agenda-setter. (The Greensboro (North Carolina) News & Record is a leader in this arena already, and has plans to move much farther.)