Newspapers as Community Hubs
MediaShift offers some ideas:
> Include outside voices in every phase of editorial planning, newsgathering, reporting and follow-up. That means that you bring in community members to town hall-style editorial meetings, you put out feelers on blogs and forums for possible subjects to cover, you query databases of citizen journalists when looking for expert sources, and you allow comments and email replies on stories to fix mistakes and follow-up.
> Reorganize newspaper sites into a series of micro-sites on niche topics. Each regular topic of coverage would have its own website: a local sports team, the city council, a business sector, a popular type of local music, each neighborhood, etc. A paid editor/reporter a.k.a. The Topic Chief would be assigned to run each niche site, with a main blog showcasing reporting as well as aggregation of other coverage on the same topic. There would be tiers of contributors, from the Topic Chief being full time, a crew of freelance writers or bloggers being paid a bit less, and citizen reporters or commenters doing volunteer work with the opportunity to move up the ladder with good work.