Image by cfarivar via Flickr
As conservative as Canadian business have been jumping onto the Web 2.0-Social Media bandwagon, the Globe & Mail newspaper has been ahead of the curve. Yes, they kept a walled garden up for a while, but Mathew Ingram has been blogging there for years now and maintaining his own personal blog as well.
Today Mathew announced that the Globe & Mail is taking another bold step: building communities around the newspaper online. What does this mean when the rubber hits the road? No one, even Mathew, is quite sure, but what he has to say is pretty promising:
A little while ago, I was offered an opportunity at the Globe that I got pretty excited about: a position that we’re calling “Communities Editor.” What does that mean exactly? To tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure.
As far as I’m concerned, it means a chance to apply some of those Web 2.0, “media is a conversation,” social-networking principles (the kind we started the mesh conference to talk about) to the newspaper that I work for, instead of just writing about what other content producers are doing. We’re talking about blogs, comments, interactive features, Twitter, Facebook, and much more. Some attempts will fail. Others (hopefully) will not. The reality is that creating communities doesn’t happen overnight. Source: Personal note: A job change for yours truly — mathewingram.com/work
Here’s what I’m wondering. Strategically The Globe & Mail must see how sites like NowPublic are gaining popularity. Watching the coverage at NowPublic I think it’s safe to say it’s hit and miss. Since the community of contributors are left to their own devices, you can’t bet that something like Windows 7, election polls, disasters, or other “top stories” will get covered. Yes, community news and citizen journalism sites might have a broader range of topics but also might not have the in-depth coverage of more “traditional” sites.
Is The Globe & Mail eyeing would-be citizen journalists? Could we see the expansion of newspaper websites and maybe newspapers themselves with more content from non-professional journalists?
NowPublic has resisted more formal arrangements with their contributors, but what if GAM found some of the best writers and photographers in a given city and gave them some backing (credentials for example) to get more breaking news or local news for GAM? What if folks like Rebecca, me, Roland Tanglao, Kris Krug, and other were tapped as regular local contributors giving us promotion of our blogs but also exposure on a broader scale?
Could the combined power of Bell Globe Media have an edge over NowPublic?
Given that I have absolutely no idea what GAM might have planned all I have to ask Mathew now is: You want some local coverage from Vancouver tomorrow during the election results?