For obvious reasons – having done the KnightNews Challenge, having followed the progress of the winner Adrian Holovaty and his EveryBlock platform and having watched Rob Curley push the envelope with his Loudon County efforts out of the Washington Post…
… we’ve always kept an interested eye on the US local start-up scene.
And next out of the blocks comes ‘Mission Local’ – as in www.missionlocal.org – out of Berkeley’s J-School; funded, helpfully, by $500,000 from the Ford Foundation.
It looks an exciting proposition.
And as the San Francisco Chronicle looks all set to be the first major US city newspaper to tumble and fall…
… their sense of timing could be immaculate as MissionLocal sets their sights on providing new, hyper-local news platforms for those bits of the Bay Area that the Chron is soon, one suspects, to abandon.
Knowing diddly-squat about Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Oakland, Emeryville, and the Mission District itself, I’ve no idea whether we’re talking near the Holovaty end of the scale with EveryBlock or the Loudon County premise of the laudable Mr Curley.
But armed with a spot of Evslin’s Law… http://outwithabang.rickwaghorn.co.uk/?p=238 … and the odd, lingering flicker of revolutionary zeal… http://outwithabang.rickwaghorn.co.uk/?p=245 … a fascinating battle of old world and new could be playing out here…
Because you can’t help but wonder whether or not the East and West Coasts of the US – and their respective J-Schools – might not be unfurling their battle flags atop two different, cultural hills.
To the East is Jeff Jarvis’ CUNY… where the ‘answer’, you suspect, may be deemed to be from the top down as the man from Google and Mr WWGD himself start to apply their collective thinking to a new ‘patch-work’ of local news sites…
To the West, pehaps, lies Berkeley. Sitting in the shadow of Google, you can’t help but wonder whether – in the finest traditions of Mr Craig’s List himself – they might not be tempted to take a wholly different approach and look at this new world through the lens of the individual hyper-local beat reporter stood on the corner of EveryBlock as opposed to hoping – and waiting – for corporate America to ride to everyone’s rescue…
Because, for me, big business is dead or dying. Be it the Hearst Corporation, the Royal Bank of Scotland or General Motors – each and everyone of them is destined to become victims of their own corporate greed.
And as they implode all around us, so the answer to all our needs has to come from the individual, from the man on the corner of the street looking to make $20 from a hyper-local text ad.
Give the people the tools to do the job – and the people will get the job done.
That’s where we all need to be heading – towards empowering people to a new, more sustainable future; one in which profit isn’t the first and only motor of commercial action.
Which is why, me thinks, Addiply needs to go West this spring.