Space for the public

Newspapers are, or should be, a metaphorical village plaza, and maybe a village guide.

That is, people generally ought to be able to use the paper (taken as a whole) to find whatever they’re looking for about a given community. If it doesn’t have what you’re looking for, it should still be able to point people in the right direction.

Combine this idea with newsrooms’ growing transparancy and digital connections and opportunities and other trends, and consider making the physical space inviting to the public.

Chris O’Brien of the Next Newsroom project asks about “a space for the public to gather to discuss important community issues.”

David Cohn has suggested “a space for content producers to come and and work on stories in collaboration with their local reporters.” The People’s Channel, a public-access cable TV site, does something loosely like this.

Other possibilities:

* Have a public place for food and drink.

* Offer public wi-fi, digital terminals or both.

* Have a small public library just for community information. Including reference service.

* From the building or within it, display current work other than the print paper. This could take any of a few forms, such as a news ticker with LEDs, or one or more screens of any size showing digital work.

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Published in: on November 14, 2007 at 6:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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