If I Didn't Build It, They Wouldn't Come

"It seems strange, in our day of multiple 24-7 news channels, the always-on Internet, and RSS to say that we don’t have enough news," writes Lisa Williams. "But in most cities and towns that happen to be more than 500 feet outside a major media market, the local people suffer more from media anorexia than information overload. It’s hard to find good information about the place where you live." Williams describes her own experiences trying to fill the gap with H2Otown, her citizen journalism website for Watertown, Massachusetts. Citizen journalism, she writes, takes real work and a different funding model than traditional newspapers: "It seemed to me that a successful newsblog might have a business model that looked more like public radio – periodic pledge drives and underwriters – than the subscription/advertising model that many news outlets were dragging into the online world. To make it work, they’d have to get over something I suspected they and many journalists had: hesitation about being directly involved with handling the money."