Can rise Phoenix-like from newspaper ashes?

25 05 2009

Gannett folded the newspaper, but the Web site lives on — albeit with an undefined mandate.

Cynics may see this as Gannett’s attempt to drain the last drops of revenue from the corpse. It’s hard to get past cynicism and believe there’s a bright future when the article about the transition is so frankly confounded about what lies ahead and how to get there. will be the voice of Tucson.
That’s the goal.
How is that going to happen? There’s the rub.
Over the next two weeks and beyond, the site will be redesigned and improved to give Tucsonans a place where they can have a say on any number of topics.
What you see now is a site created for a metro daily newspaper’s online operation. That’s over.
What will come is a more user-friendly site created to reflect the fast-paced, edgy nature of the Internet age.
Most of what’s been discussed about this new site has been long on generalities and short on specifics.
I wish I could reverse that and give you more details but we’re still working that out.
It goes on to say maybe it will be a kind of umbrella site for local bloggers, where individual bloggers benefit from the traffic that their collective mass will attract. The article gives a not to the dreaded conceptual nemisis of newspapers: citizen journalism. It half-heartedly says, “OK citizens, here’s your electronic journal. Come do your thing.” It even promises some instructions in how to be a journalist and help in obtaining a public record if anyone is interested.
The whole thing is actually painful to read.
I don’t know any better than the authors how citizen journalism will rise up to replace the sort of journalism we got from newspapers for a century or so. But I find it hard to imagine it arising from the body of a dead newspaper’s leftover Web site.



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