Tuesday, May 04, 2010
News should be free: The Voice of San Diego
by Larry Geller
The Voice of San Diego has been around since 2005 and is widely considered to be a successful pioneer in on-line journalism. It concentrates on investigative journalism and quality-of-life issues. When it started, it was competing head-to-head with paper newspapers, and as newsprint has faded, they continue as a strong contender.
They are run like a newspaper but don’t need to be as comprehensive as the print media. They have blogs and commentary and are as polished and professional as any commercial site. They even update breaking news during the day, which keeps people coming back.
Access is free, of course.
From their website:
Welcome to voiceofsandiego.org. We are a public-service, nonprofit news organization that focuses on in-depth and investigative reporting. We cover the issues that are crucial to the region's quality of life: its politics, educational system, environment, housing, economy and more.
We don't try to be everything to everybody. We don't think we're the only place you're going to get news today. We know that in today's world you've got plenty of places to turn for national and international coverage, and there are other publications in San Diego doing work that we don't need to chase after or replicate. Those are all just a mouse click away.
That's why we follow a simple maxim: We don't do a story unless we think we can do it better than anyone else or no one else is covering it. What does that mean? We work hard to add value to everything we do, offering you unique coverage that you can't get anywhere else. We don't follow the pack and try not to offer the same headlines that everyone else is offering. [voiceofsandiego.org, About Us page]
So how do they pay a professional staff?
voiceofsandiego.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are a pioneering journalism model for professionally staffed, online news organizations that is being replicated nationwide. We will continue to operate with the support of individuals, foundations and businesses which, like you, recognize the importance of local news from an independent perspective.
Yes, they do pay staff and produce a free product. They are currently hiring an Arts Editor.
VOSD is a frequently studied model of a so-far successful experiment in on-line journalism. They are for real—even their website runs on a capable but commercial system, BLOX. There’s nothing second-rate about this website and a lot to like.