WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Participants are sought to join an ad-hoc group will meet March 1 to consider information needs of the Greylock region, and the possibility of forming an "online information hub" for Williamstown. The decision to meet came at the end of a community-information needs assessment meeting on Jan. 24. Download MP3 podcast. Monday's meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown, say co-organizers Bill Densmore and Gail Burns.
"We met twice in 2006, and in January," says Densmore. "The technology, ideas and need are all present. It's time take some collaborative baby steps."
- Participate in a demonstration of Jeff Vander Clute's "Avanoo" social news-networking software.
- Resume discussing the Knight Commission on Information Needs of Communities report and its list of critical community information needs.
- Learn about the Shires Media Partnership Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit which now owns WBTN-AM 1370kc in Bennington.
- Consider opportunities for collaboration among regional media and citizens.
- Take some baby steps at innovation.
CLICK TO STREAM AUDIO OF JAN. 24 MEETING:
-- David Scribner, a Pittsfield-based writer and weekly newspaper editor. Scribner, a former editor of The Berkshire Eagle and The Bennington Banner, has applied to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for a grant to launch "Newshare Commons" -- a journalist-guided, social news network in libraries, cafes and public spaces. Scribner hopes the Berkshires/SW Vermont will be one test region.
-- Jeff Vander Clute, of Palo Alto, Calif., president of CircLabs Inc., a company part-owned by the University of Missouri School of Journalism. CircLabs is working to find solutions for sustaining the values, principles and purposes of journalism in our rapidly evolving media ecosystem. Vander Clute is developing the technology for a "news social network" which might become part of the Newshare Commons project. Vander Clute is a 1995 Williams College graduate and was part of a core group at the start of Tripod Inc.
LISTEN TO AUDIO OF 90-MINUTE DISCUSSION
The 12-person group spent 90 minutes considering whether the Williamstown region's "community information needs" are being met, based upona set of 10 key indicators suggested in a reported released in October by the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities. And they added an additional proposed indicator: "Does an infrastructure exist for constructive, civic problem solving?"
Reviewing 15 recommendations from the Knight Commission report, the group focused on one on which there was consensus for action: "Ensure that every local community has at least one high-quality online hub." To advance that idea, about half the participants agreed to meet again at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 1, at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown. (The followup meeting was originally set for Feb. 22)
ADVANCES A GATHERING IN BENNINGTON
Tuesday's gathering advanced by two days a more formal gathering at the Bennington (Vt.) Free Library organized by Shires Media Partnership Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit which owns radio station WBTN in Bennington (I serve on its volunteer board). The announcement of that event should give you a sense our
subject domain for Tuesday. See: http://dbs.hosting.crocker.com/wiki/index.php/Community-bennington
To get a feel for what a metropolitan area like Seattle can put together to study its 'news ecosystem,' " said Densmore, "Review this page from the Journalism That Matters Pacific Northwest gathering Jan. 7-10 -- http://www.rjiwiki.org . . . . "
Densmore may be reached at 413-458-8001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.