Final Assignment: Local News

Posted: March 31, 2011 by Philip Lee in Uncategorized

In 1835, the French historian and political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about the abundance of newspapers in democratic America. He observed that these local newspapers played a critical role in maintaining a sense of community and common purpose among people who were pursuing their own individual ends.
“Nothing but a newspaper can drop the same thought into a thousand minds at the same moment,” he wrote. “A newspaper is an adviser that does not require to be sought, but that comes of its own accord and talks to you briefly every day of the common weal, without distracting you from your private affairs…. To suppose that they only serve to protect freedom would be to diminish their importance: they maintain civilization. I shall not deny that in democratic countries newspapers frequently lead the citizens to launch together into very ill-digested schemes; but if there were no newspapers there would be no common activity. The evil which they produce is therefore much less than that which they cure.” (My italics.)
As newspapers decline in the new digital age, and other sources of local news continue to struggle to maintain a presence in communities, few online alternatives have emerged to take their place. This final assignment is an exercise in imagining and outlining a solution to this problem.
The assignment is this: Choose a community, preferably your home town or city. Briefly outline the nature of the community, and develop a plan for an internet based multi-media platform that will play a role (to use Tocqueville’s words) in maintaining civilization and a sense of community and common purpose.
What kind of stories and information will the site deliver? How will the stories and information be delivered? What forms of media will be used? How will it interact with members of the community? How will it reflect the larger narrative of the community as a whole? How will it be financed (advertising, online subscriptions, foundation funding, membership drives)? What kinds of obstacles must be overcome to make this successful. How will success be measured?
Whenever possible, link us to examples of news organizations that are using methods that you would incorporate into your project.
Think outside the box, always taking into account the speed with which this revolution is unfolding. Consider the speed of change just in this semester and imagine where we might find ourselves in five years, not where we are now.
2000 words, give or take. Due at noon on April 20.


#10 State of the Media

Posted: March 27, 2011 by Philip Lee in #10 State of the Media

Explore this report compiled by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Comment on the most optimistic findings about the state of the news media in the United States. What was most surprising to you? How is technology continuing to change the fundamental nature of the news business? Due Friday, April 1, before class. PLEASE NOTE THE DEADLINE CHANGE to accommodate the tardiness of your professor.

A Cara de Porto Alegre (Faces of Porto Alegre)

Posted: April 29, 2011 by Maria Acle in Uncategorized

Porto Alegre is the tenth most populous municipality in Brazil, with almost 1.5 million inhabitants. It is the capital city of the southernmost Brazilian state, Rio Grande do Sul. The city’s name literally means ‘Happy Harbour’ in English and it is known for its rich and colorful culture.

Porto Alegre is one of the top cultural, political and economic centers of Brazil. With the city being one of the wealthiest in Latin America, it has a very high quality of life. However, while it is not as bad as many other cities in Latin America, the wealth distribution is very unequal. This is one big problem when it comes to delivering any kind of information. Read the rest of this entry »

What the Future?

Posted: April 26, 2011 by stephaniekelly10 in Uncategorized

Hi everyone!

I came across this really interesting website and I recommend you take a look at it!  It’s called What the Future [I can’t remember exactly where I found it and apologize if it was given to me by someone in this class!]

It’s a TV series about ideas, innovations and people of the twenty-first century, which host Warren Kimmel describes as “The most exciting time in history.” The website uses several mediums and it is a great place to look for story ideas!

The Narrows Weekly

Posted: April 25, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in Uncategorized

I’m not sure if St. John’s has ever looked as beautiful as it did the first time I saw from the ocean sailing in through the narrows. At the time of evening when the setting sun casts a glow across the entire city, the view is enough to take anyone’s breath away. Every time I get the opportunity to catch a glimpse, I always think of what it must have looked like in 1497 when John Cabot sailed his ship The Matthew through the narrows of St. John’s harbour.

View of old St. John's and the harbour

Like the ‘Ode to Newfoundland’ says, I imagine sun shining on pine-clad hills. I imagine the looks on the faces of the men aboard the ship when they dipped baskets into the sea and pull them up full of fish. Newfoundland was the land of plenty – until it wasn’t. After its discovery, Europeans flocked to the shores of the Avalon Peninsula to start a new life on new land. But, slowly resources began to disappear leaving many Newfoundlanders facing hardship.

Downtown St. John's

The Oldest City in North America is a lot different now than it was then, but St. John’s has still managed to keep a tight hold on her roots. The predominantly English and Irish cultures have remained in-tact and are still visible when you stroll down the old streets in the City of Legends.

The past decade has brought a new vitality to St. John’s. A Large portion of the younger generations that went away for post-secondary studies, have come home to start businesses and projects in the city.  St. John’s also attracts many young people from across the country, and the world, to come study in the province.  Memorial University of Newfoundland is the largest (and cheapest) university in Atlantic Canada and offers degrees in more than 100 programs. Read the rest of this entry »

Greater Moncton Wire

Posted: April 23, 2011 by Danie Pitre in Uncategorized

Moncton is the biggest metro area in New Brunswick, it’s home to over 126,000 residents and is still growing rapidly. Moncton boasts a population of 100,000 on it’s own while Dieppe and Riverview both have around 18,000 residents each. Moncton has a special relationship with its two neighboring communities, Riverview and Dieppe as they have a strong partnership but still a healthy competition with one another.

Read the rest of this entry »

Home sweet foggy home!

If Saint John is good for anything, it’s the fog – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. If there is one thing I miss since coming to school in Fredericton it’s the creepy cool mist that hangs over Canada’s first incorporated city (circa 1785).

Saint John is hard to pin down. Primarily settled by loyalists and immigrated Irish, the Port of Saint John has become a tourist destination because of the rich history and Victorian architecture. Last year the city was “designated” a cultural capital of Canada, unfortunately the popularity doesn’t do much for the crippling social and economic divides between Saint John’s neighborhoods. Saint John stinks. And it’s not just the smell of the Irving pulp mill pumping fumes into the salty air.

With a total population of over 122,000 (if you include the outlying areas, like Rothesay and Hampton) there are many reasons why Saint John needs a little help get it’s community groove back.

Although it’s been reported that connecting to a specific location means ultimate demise these days for the independent news source – the PEW research institute, in their ‘State of the News Media‘ came up with some surprising data indicating that the ‘younger demographic’ is getting interested in community news.

It’s no secret that the population of New Brunswick is dwindling and the average citizen is ageing with the architecture; it’s for that very reason that I believe, specifically with Saint John, but across New Brunswick there should be conceded effort to create online-community media projects, in order to share the wealth of awesome New Brunswick culture between our younger communities, instead of just pimping it out to cruise ship passengers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Our Base

Posted: April 21, 2011 by Adam Hodnett in Uncategorized

We can thank Moses Asch (wiki) for the music of the 60’s and 70’s.

He started Folkways Records (wiki)(podcast) in the late 40’s, which led to the folk revival. These records taught musicians like Bob Dylan how to play. They had an office in New York where traveling, depression-era surviving musicians could sell their songs.

Moe Asch thought more like an anthropologist than a businessman.

Some libraries bought every record he made. This gave him a base. When they made more money, they made more records—they operated on tight margins. The goal was to documented culture. They made 2,168 records, including one from the Miramichi—home of the oldest folk festival in North America.

Journalism should be thought of in the same way. It documents our time. If we can establish a solid base, then we can take on bigger projects when funding becomes available, and always fall back if a risk doesn’t pay off.

I think we can keep an online paper alive with 3,000$ a month, which we can get from advertisements.

Read the rest of this entry »

My Greater Saint John

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Karissa Donkin in Uncategorized

Before I start my final project, I thought I’d share a link talking about ProPublica’s Pulitzer Prize win. It’s the first time in history an outlet has won the coveted award for something that hasn’t appeared on a printed page. I think this should serve as a bit of encouragement. ProPublica is still producing great journalism in our changing world. They’re just doing things differently than what we’re used to – and it’s working. It’s a reason to be optimistic.

On to my final project:

My Greater Saint John


Saint John, New Brunswick is the second-largest city in the province with a population of 68, 043 as of 2006 (Statistics Canada). A deep, dense fog hangs over the city for most of the year, especially in July. Our city politics are more exciting and heated than you’d expect from a small city and we dump our sewage into our harbour. We’re working on that. You also can’t really drink the water and we’re kind of working on that too. Read the rest of this entry »

Your HRM

Posted: April 20, 2011 by lukemuise in Uncategorized

Nestled together on the east coast of Nova Scotia lie the cities and communities which make up the Halifax Regional Municipality. Its a vast expanse of business parks, residential areas, downtown cores huddled neatly around Halifax harbour. For many visitors, it would be easy to think that the Halifax Regional Municipality was all one place, but really there are several communities that make up the HRM. The two largest are Halifax and Dartmouth, but there are also Sackville, Bedford, Cole Harbour, Eastern Passage and Eastern Shore.

The Halifax area has become known for its cultural diversity, rich history, opportunities for education, its unparalleled music scene, and its ability to organize top quality events like the World Hockey Championships in 2008, or more recently The Canada Games. Aside from that, people can still find beautiful scenery in places like the Public Gardens, or if they’re feeling old school they can check out one of many historic sites around the city. Halifax is a city with a lot going on. From sports events at the Metro Centre, to plays and concerts at Neptune Theatre, to the annual Busker Festival on the boardwalk.

When you walk around its streets there is a palpable sense of a place that is trying  modernize itself while still being able to hold onto the the history that makes the city what it is. For every old, stone building there is a new, modern one beside it.

In a place with so much going on, the people need a way to be able to keep track of it all. Hopefully, using the tool I call “Your HRM”, people will be able to get the information, organization, and connectivity they need to make the Halifax area come alive for them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cornerbrooker [dot] com

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Sara Power in Uncategorized

The Corner Brook Pulp & Paper Mill

In my hometown, Corner Brook, Newfoundland, our news media includes a local radio station CFCB, CBC Radio, the newspaper The Western Star, and a local Rogers cable that is most notably known for the show The Corner Brook Cafe.

Then, in June 2010,, powered by, came onto the scene. It is a glorified blog, a place where people can contribute interesting stories and events and have a conversation about it. It is made by the people, for the people. The primary contributer is Tom Cochrane, but he’s definitely not the only one.

Tom is a few years older than me. I remember that he was in a band that won Battle of the Bands one year. And he was dating my dance instructor. Now he contributes news and events to this community blog. started with ‘photos of the day’ from the cornerbrooker flickr group, blog posts with links to the most interesting news from the Western Star and elsewhere, pictures of interesting things happening in the city, like when the Brewed Awakening coffee shop opened a second shop. 60 pages of blog posts later, and the blog posts are starting to resemble journalistic stories, there’s information about voting, more people are taking part including history stories from the museum archives, and local videos from Grenfell’s Visual Arts program.

Read the rest of this entry »

Proximity is Priority.

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Mike Carter in Uncategorized

Like this house, online-only publications await their foundation.


As newspapers continue to decline, the building of a sustainable economic model for online news websites still remains undecided. The manner in which news is disseminated has changed so dramatically that the industry can’t keep up.

Says John Paton, the new head of Journal Register newspapers: “We have had nearly 15 years to figure out the web and, as an industry, we newspaper people are no good at it.”

The traditional newspaper’s economic model relies on a funding structure that is based primarily on selling audience numbers to those who wish to advertise in their publication. Secondly, newspapers have for years supplemented this revenue with sales, there are no secrets being revealed here. With content mainly free online, the problem with building a successful model for an online-only publication lays in pushing revenue past a reliance on ads and finding a way to provide something the public is willing to pay for. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Insert Page Breaks

Posted: April 20, 2011 by sharonfawcett in Uncategorized

Alyssa made a good point about page breaks, but I think a few people might have been absent from class when Philip showed us how to insert them. If you already know, I don’t mean to insult you. If you don’t know how to do it, the page break icon is under the “Visual” tab, top row, fourth from the right, immediately to the left of the spell check checkmark. Just put your cursor where you want to have a page break (after the first paragraph, for example) and then click the icon. Only the text above the page break will appear on the main screen of the blog. I’ll remove this post in a couple of days so it doesn’t interfere with what’s becoming a great looking blog. Good job, everyone!

Page breaks!

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Alyssa Mosher in Uncategorized

Hey guys! Don’t forget to put a page break in the blogs! With posts this long, it makes it hard to scroll through and find stuff when the break isn’t there. Thanks!!

Construction of the High Level Bridge, Edmonton, Alberta. Taken from "maybe edmonton" blog.

The City

Edmonton boasts many of the amenities of an ideal urban centre like Toronto or Montreal, but the majority of it is poorly designed. An steady flow of newcomers combined with availability of cheap farmland sold for residential development has resulted in major urban sprawl. I would argue that although Edmonton is smaller in size and population than Toronto and Montreal, it lacks accessibility and the essence of connectedness a city of its size should have. The overarching goal of my internet platform is to unite the city by giving it a vessel for the stories that matter most to its people.

Edmonton is often perceived as a “blue-collar” city because of its association with industry; at first glance, it’s not an artful place. While this is simply untrue – for example, Edmonton is home to a thriving theatre community and hosts North America’s oldest and largest Fringe Theatre festival – there is a stigma that brands the city as cold and lacking imagination. In my opinion, Edmonton’s arts community is incredibly vital to its appeal and sustenance as a city not only for its inherent value, but for its energy. Of course there is a place for industry – it creates jobs for a healthy economy and this keeps unemployment rates down – but the problem with it is it’s often a quick fix for newcomers who don’t stay to invest in the city. People move to Edmonton and stay for a few years to make a quick buck and don’t stay, so there is less of a forceful demand for investment in the things that make a city appetizing such as infrastructure and accessible transit. I would like to see a community forum filled with news about efficient and sustainable urban planning for new projects, preserving and recycling historic buildings instead of ripping them down without cause, and a focus on drawing more traffic through the cultural hubs of the city while putting money into a downtown face-lift.

Read the rest of this entry »

 Revitalizing Canada’s Oldest Incorporated  City.

Saint John is a city in need of media revolution.

I’m a lifelong west Saint Johner. I ventured up Route Seven three years ago to Fredericton, intent on pursuing a career in journalism. It wasn’t until I lived in a new city that I learned how different my home city is.

Saint John is home to some of the richest people in Canada, and the poorest. The Irving family, who own Irving Oil, J.D. Irving Limited, and all of the daily newspapers in the province, are in the top ten richest families in Canada. Saint John is also home to poverty, crime and urban sprawl. I’ve been fortunate enough to work for one of the Brunswick News papers in Saint John for the past two summers. The Irving family has drawn criticism for what has been referred to as a “media monopoly” on the province’s news. But for me, my summer internships have been an opportunity to get to know the city better and fall in love with Saint John.

The problem is, not everyone loves Saint John. It’s been described as Stinktown, and “the asshole of New Brunswick.” Not exactly complimentary. The people who dislike Saint John, dislike it. But the people who love it, love it A LOT.

I think the key to revitalizing the city is by harnessing these people for a multi-media project and newsletter. Saint John’s young population is dwindling, but the “hip and trendy” young city dwellers really make their presence known. These people have blogs, host parties, fashion shows, fundraisers, festivals and are the driving force behind some of the cities most successful small businesses.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Village of Tracy is located approximately 40 kilometres outside of Fredericton, New Brunswick. It has a population of just over 600. Putting that number into perspective, there are movie theatres in Toronto that hold more people. In comparison, those movie theatres also have a economy that is self-sustaining, bringing in revenue and spending it in the same location, while Tracy serves mostly as an out-of-way
Read the rest of this entry »

Stay Calm.

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #10 State of the Media

The State of the media never once crossed my mind when I was getting ready to move to New Brunswick for university. I wanted to be a journalist and that was that. When I got here, all of a sudden I was surrounded by several “state of the media” discussions and I was left thinking I was headed for a career in a dying industry.

Luckily, I was wrong. It’s true that the media landscape is changing, but not necessarily for the worst.  The last few years have been particularly hard on the industry but as shown in the Pew Research Centre’s Project for Excellence in Journalism report, things are slowly on the up and up.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Island Times

Posted: April 20, 2011 by stephaniekelly10 in Uncategorized
Rustico, Prince Edward Island

Nestled in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Prince Edward Island sits as a fabric work of small towns and villages. In many ways, PEI is a province stuck in time. While other provinces entered into periods of expansion, development and modernization, Prince Edward Island preserved the traditional nature that defines it. This is the province that still had party lines in 1989. It is the type of place where living off the land is a way of life, where everyone knows their neighbour and where being a Catholic or a Protestant is still criteria for marriage. Prince Edward Island was first known as Epewitk or “cradle on the waves,” and that’s just what it is. Its shoreline is traced with famous pristine beaches that stand alone in the evening sun. Read the rest of this entry »

Not just another community

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Alyssa Mosher in Uncategorized

When I started working on this final project, I wasn’t sure it was going to make it. My ideas seemed a little vague. I just wanted to see what I was thinking. So I decided to make a “template” for a website. And instead of writing a 2000-word piece, the words are spread out throughout website, answering the different questions we were supposed to think about. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t anywhere near as sophisticated as I would want the real product to be, but it may just give everyone a better idea of…my idea.

So sit back, explore and enjoy Not just another community where the stories of the small towns of Nova Scotia are told.

Double Disasters strike Japan

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #9 Japan

When the calibre of disaster reaches that of Japan’s March 11th 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the only word that comes to mind is devastation. Mind you, I’m saying this as a detached westerner. While I have great empathy for the people who were faced with such tragedy, all I have are words. There is no way I could ever know what they feel unless I too were put in such a situation.

Unfortunately with disasters as complex as this one, it’s hard to make the public understand the background to the story – especially when things get complicated, and this disaster got complicated in a hurry.

Read the rest of this entry »

Julian Assange knows what you did…and so do I.

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #8 Wikileaks

As soon as I knew Wikileaks existed, it made me question certain aspects of journalism. Is it okay to widely publish information from anonymous sources? Or, how about publishing “secret” documents submitted by whistleblowers? Are these things covered by the journalistic requirement to inform based on what’s necessary and important to the public’s well-being?

I view Wikileaks as sort of a grey area in journalistic ethics. While personally I believe a platform like Wikileaks’ is important to maintain a certain level of transparency in government and society, I can see the ethical problems involved and they have me undecided. I guess like many things it could be circumstantial – these ethical problems could limit the publication of some documents based on the issues surrounding the acquirement of the information.

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