This apparently happened a couple weeks ago but I just found out about it via the Book o’ Face this morning, “Heritage Media to open Community Media Lab.” Here are a couple of quotes:
Heritage Media-West, which includes the websiteHeritage.com and weekly print publications in Washtenaw and Wayne counties, has selected Ypsilanti, home of Eastern Michigan University, for its Community Media Lab, which will officially open May 1 at SPARK-East, 215 W. Michigan Ave.
Our parent company, Journal Register Co., managed by Digital First Media, has experienced success with community media laboratories, particularly inTorrington, Conn., at its Register Citizens News Café.
In Ypsilanti, we have seen a hunger for local news, and there is a large student population and academic community interested in learning and gaining hands-on experience, as well as numerous volunteers and nonprofit groups interested in sharing local news and being involved in the community.
Our goal is to teach the community to gather and report news on a variety of platforms, from creating video and podcasts to photo slideshows and sound slideshows to timelines, locator maps, info graphics, live tweeting, creating Storified compilations and databases, and become collaborators withHeritage.com, bringing the outside in and creating a transparent community newsroom.
We believe the community is open to using new digital technologies, blogging and sharing content on social media. Some of our partners include Eastern Michigan University faculty, The Eastern Echo, professional journalists, public relations gurus, videographers and photographers, as well as student journalists and community bloggers. They will help lead workshops on podcasting, videography, photography, use of social media, reporting, narrative writing, ethics in journalism, how to file a request under the Freedom of Information Act, sourcing stories, resume writing, and collaborate in other ways such as sharing content.
And there are also references later in the piece about training people to be journalists in other ways, a reference later on in the piece about “monetizing blogs,” and so forth. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of it. The optimist in me says that this is a great way to try to get people involved in their community and to notice, observe, and write about the world around them. The pessimist in me says this is an effort of Herritage.com to get people in Ypsi to generate content and do reporting for free that they can then try to “sell” on their web sites. But hey, I think more local reporting/citizen journalism is always better.