Last week The Ventura County Star, our local paper, announced the newest addition to its journalistic endeavors.
We will now receive, on a weekly basis, a new supplement titled "YourHub.Com". What is "YourHub.Com?", one might ask. Let me quote you from their "premiere issue" of March 13, 2007.
"YourHub.com is a great way to connect with your neighborhood and see what's going on in communities across Ventura County. Every day people upload stories, photos, events and opinions on their neighborhood YourHub.com Web site. Every week we take the postings from the Web site and print five different YourHub.com sections and deliver them with the Tuesday Ventura County Star."
Hot Diggity Damn, the local press wants a "piece" of the "citizen Journalism" pie. It's a blatant "cake and eat it too" attempt. Same old, same old, at the daily press, but why not try to carve a little niche out of this new concept?, thinks the Newspaper.
There seems to be a "fundamental problem"... While, "YourHub.com" is the home website, the main purpose of the enterprise is the creation of a sub-insert in a PRINTED NEWSPAPER. Of the 10 some odd pages of the first issue, at least 5 and 1/4 pages are print ads. It's a throw-away. The articles are benign and frankly boring. It made this writer wonder, "Why bother?"...So, I checked the website. www.YourHub.com and the mystery was revealed.
One might call it a "mini franchise", you can become a syndicated partner of YourHub.com by licensing their software in your area. You start your website, "partner-up" with a local newspaper, get your contributors, publish your contributors work and once a week your partner will print a supplement of the weeks activity. Complete with a ton of local ads.
The YourHub.com management team promises to supply the technology, including content publishing, reverse publishing and classifieds that, they claim, will compete with the likes of Craigslist and eBay. You will get a complete marketing solution and ongoing business development support that includes a turn-key launch kit. ...sample rate cards, marketing materials and an editorial plan. They will "give" you the opportunity to offer competitive advertising rates to the "mom and pop" shops of your area. You will get full on support in all areas...This is a business venture...$$$...Plain and simple. Not that there is anything wrong with making money. Money is good, anyone who says it isn't is either a liar or has a trust fund.
Let's look at the "citizen journalism" part of this project. Writers will submit stories to be published on the local YourHub.com website. Very similar to how this article will be published here on BrooWaha, Los Angeles, but then there will be weekly "editorial" decisions on what is too be published in the "PRINT" edition. So, the end result is that there is a mini newspaper, with free unpaid content, partnered with a newspaper that might well go the way of the dinosaurs. This is a mini newspaper that is chock full of "old school", paid advertising but makes the claim that it is.... "the next generation of local news."
In a recently published interview of Los Angeles Times writer, Mayrav Saar, by BrooWaha's own, Ariel. Ms.Saar offered her advice to us as writers. She explained, "Accuracy is king". This writer has to admit that he is not sure whether YourHub.com is cause for rejoicing or whether there is the heavy scent of a "wolf in sheep's clothing."
A list of YourHub.com customers, as per their web page:
The Denver Post & Rocky Mountain News
The Knoxville News-Sentinel
Ventura County Star
Scripps Treasure Coast Newspaper Group
The Wichita Falls Times Record News
The Colorado Springs Gazette
The Corpus Christi Caller Times
WORLD - CULTURE
Copyright © 2010 Steven Lane
Local California Paper Taps into Citizen Journalism Market
Copyright © 2010 Steven Lane
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