Long before Naked Conversations was even a glimmer in anyone's eye, I had an idea for a global local newspaper. I got passionate about it, event putting together a small business plan. My issue was that it was not a small concept.
The essential concept was that every event of interest to anyone could e locally covered. My "global, local blog newspaper," as I called it, would cover the local Little League sports teams, would let citizens file stories on pot holes in their town's rats in slumlord buildings. They would write and take pictures and maybe someday, video record events everywhere. Their may be regional editors who reviewed these stories, but more important, the blogosphere would be the fact checker the way ysers were becoming the fact checker on a new phenomenon called Wikipedia.
There was a monetization concept and it was tied to local advertising. The local girl's soccer team coverage might be sponsored by local merchants, national events by major brands. All payment would be based on a buck-a-click charge to advertisers. My global-local-blog-newspaper would then split the ad revenues with its global legions of citizen journalists.
I actually peddled the idea. i thought I found my partners who had money and were interested in the ad model. except a closer look at them revealed they were direct marketing wolves in social media clothing. I then pitched the idea to a couple of "online media" folk at Knight Ridder, who used that kindly pedantic attitude that essentially said they did not believe for a minute this idea would every work.
It was too big and too complicated for me to start up on my own, so I put it aside as something I would get back to someday. As the song goes, someday never came.
So when I started reading some of the enthusiasm for the new, improved Topix among bloggers, I respect, I decided to take a long hard look. I had met Topix CEO Rich Skrenta at a conference a few months back and like what he had to say about community focus. I also found it amazing that as we sat on a panel in Miami, I discovered that we both lived less than a mile apart in San Carlos, CA. In his talk he had been hinting along the lines of my old dusty project, and we talked about getting together once we were back in the hood. We never did.
I spent a couple of hours kicking around the new Topix this morning and I cannot say that it has fulfilled the vision I had back in 2003. But I do think it has built out the essential framework and has the potential to build out the entire concept of the Global-local-blog newspaper.
I hope so. I'll keep watching.