New Voices: What Works

New Voices: What Works

J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at American University has issued a report that looks in detail at four dozen community news projects launched since 2005 and offers recommendations for future projects. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the report, New Voices: What Works (36 pages, PDF), argues that community news sites need to engage, not just inform, their users; embrace social media tools; identify contributors on the fly rather than groom a corps of "citizen journalists" in advance; and rely on a lot of sweat equity. The report also notes that community news sites on the whole are not yet profitable, and that income from grants, advertising, and events generally fall short of covering staff salaries and operating expenses.