Who are you?
My name is David Cohn, but I often go by the alias Digidave. I often joke that I am a jack of all trades and a master of none. I grew up in Los Angeles and did my undergrad at UC Berkeley. After living in SF for a bit and working at Wired magazine, I moved to New York to continue perusing journalism and to work towards my masters degree at Columbia's J-school. And now I'm back in the bay area. I'm lucky in that I've found a way to work on projects, like Broowaha, that I love. I try to be as much of an open book as possible on my blog.
How did you hear about BrooWaha?
I first heard about Broowaha while working at NewAssignment.Net, a project to spur innovation in journalism - particularly through citizen journalism. I have been following all the major citizen journalism networks in the US and a few abroad. I was working with Jeff Jarvis to organize a conference on networked journalism and I wanted to make sure that Ariel from Broowaha was there. It was at that conference that Ariel and I met, albeit briefly, and began to talk about working together on Broowaha.
What do you think is the untapped potential of Broowaha?
The real power of Broowaha is that the writers are also people living their daily lives. Organized newsrooms are great, but they can only cover so much and they do it from a bird's eye view. We don't need to act like profesional journalists reporting on the news. We don't need to "report" the news at all. Let's just tell our stories. We write from the ground level. If there is a storm in my neighborhood I don't want to hear what the local news station says about it, I want to know from my friends and neighbors what is going on. Have any trees been knocked over, power outages, car crashes. When we experience something newsworthy we should share it.
Since Broowaha has networks in some of the biggest cities in the world, we could be a resource to people who want to find information about those cities. We can write about simple things like cafes, restaurants and local bands and if we dig our feet in, we could write about development in Brooklyn, education woes in Atlanta, traffic in Los Angeles, homelessness in San Francisco, new businesses in Miami, etc. It's all about what we experience in our daily lives. Everyone is an expert on something and every day has a story in it somewhere.
What can we expect from you in the next few months?
First, I won't blow up the site.
In addition to not blowing up the site, I hope we can push it forward.
I want to introduce new features like a monthly interview with a Broowaha writer (similar to this interview).
I want to increase the level of social networking on Broowaha, so individual Broowaha writers can work on stories that they love, but they can work on these in teams, meeting new people along the way.
I will do what I can to increase the exposure of Broowaha, but in the end that will come down to the content that we create together. In that respects, you can expect me to do what I can to make your stories better. I won't be re-writing stories (I know how annoying that can be), but I might give friendly advice or sneak a quick copy edit in here and there. My only goal is to add value to Broowaha.
I want to help define Broowaha (Read our new About section). That doesn't mean I'm here to dictate it - but to help the community find itself. It's about creating positive forms of communication.
Any advice for our citizen reporters?
Write about what you love. The great thing about being a citizen reporter is that it is a hobby not a 9-5 job. That actually gives you an advantage. Think about what you are already an expert in, what you are already passionate about and follow it. I'm also available if you have any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to make myself available - hell, I love talking about this stuff anyways.
David Cohn is known as Digidave in BrooWaha and is a member of the SF edition. Please join me in welcoming him to the Broo' and feel free to ask any questions you may have for him in the comment section.