Turning Bloggers Into Your Site’s Citizen Journalists

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For media companies ready to embrace weblogs and for bloggers trying to distinguish themselves from the masses, offers a solution: 45,000 citizen journalism web sites.

For media companies ready to embrace weblogs and for bloggers trying to distinguish themselves from the masses, offers a solution: 45,000 citizen journalism web sites.

Think of each site as a group blog for its city with articles, message boards and free classifieds.

“Our network of citizen journalism sites creates a middle layer in the information world between individual blogs and fully edited news sources,” said GetLocalNews CEO Edgar Canon.

Citizen journalists can instantly post articles about their communities and get immediate feedback in the message boards. If the article is of national interest, GetLocalNews can syndicate it network-wide.

While others are just starting to tap into the local communities with citizen journalism experiments, GetLocalNews already knows what works and has a fully functional national network. Early on, the five-year-old company discovered that local community members are addicted to interactivity, that few sites allow them to engage on a local level, and that it's easy to hook the teens. “We’ve found that our sites attract the generation that newspapers have lost,” Canon said. offers:

•    Citizen journalism sites that media companies can either fully integrate with their existing operations or run independently.

•     5,000 community web sites with such top-level domains as and (winner of a 2002 General Excellence Award from the Online News Association).

•    40,000 community web sites built as sub-domains of state sites, such as and

•    The ability to place a single content item, including advertisements and articles, on multiple sites locally or nationwide.

•    Additional web page inventory for ad sales.

•    Integration with existing print or online products, pre-empting Craigslist and other new free classifieds ventures.

•    Integration with print software so citizen journalism sites can spawn new print publications.’s experienced team has learned that with an intense local focus and a premium on interactive features, a web site can become a community hub for citizen journalism in the form of articles and message boards; external links to relevant content (like Google News or Topix); classifieds (like Craigslist); local search with business ratings and reviews. is a proven success, having demonstrated an ability to attract users from all sectors of a community, including teens and young adults. The Benicia, Calif., pilot site,, generates over 400,000 page views and over 30,000 unique users monthly; Benicia's population is 26,400.

Such deep penetration in a community is possible when you've built highly interactive sites that turn readers into reporters. No news organization has enough resources to cover all the issues that affect people in every town every day, especially as new communities sprout in what used to be rural areas. But sites can do just that. Instead of creating personal blogs, residents of Benicia turn to, where they know they’ll reach a built-in audience. Benicia’s citizen journalists have started discussions on such topics as speeding on residential streets, a high school play that some said deserved an R rating, and whether to switch downtown parking from parallel to angled.

Unlike one-person weblogs, and sites are intended to be highly interactive, collaborative citizen journalism venues. At the same time, individuals or businesses can publish their own blogs within this system. partners in a variety of ways, from local-exclusive agreements based on cross-promotion and revenue sharing to nationwide arrangements. When traditional media companies partner with, they can run citizen journalism sites today.

List of GetLocalNews top-level domains:
Pew Internet & American Life Project: The State of Blogging,
Classified Intelligence; Competing With Craig,

Citizen Journalism examples:

Debate over proposal for downtown angled parking,
Speeding on residential streets,
A teacher who put on a high school play that some said deserved an R rating,

Management Team:

Edgar Canon, publisher and CEO

Co-Founder and CEO of, an award-winning pharmaceutical information site. was purchased by in 1999.

Founder and CEO of IRC, Inc., Medical/Science publishing company. 1991-1996

Served on numerous boards and commissions at the County, Regional and State level.

Elected to the Solano County Board of Supervisors, 1993 -1997

VP Marketing for Infostore, Inc. 1989-1991

MBA, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

Ari Soglin, Editor

A former online editor with the Knight Ridder newspaper chain, Soglin oversees's content development. He managed our pilot site when it won a general excellence award from the Online News Association in 2002. Prior to joining, he was the Editor of He has won numerous awards as a reporter and editor with 20 years of experience in print and online journalism.

Rick Robeson, CTO

Before joining Robeson was the Manager of Technology at Global Med Technology, where he developed the SafetraceTX Transfusion System. Robeson has an extensive background developing Windows-based client-server and distributed database systems. His primary emphasis has been developing FDA approved medical software systems for Baxter Healthcare and Continental Healthcare. Additional experience includes development of real-time fault-tolerant factory control systems for NEC and integrated accounting software systems for the contractor industry. He has a wide range of experience at all levels of software development, hardware and network engineering as well as extensive functional/project management skills working with small to medium size technology teams.


Edgar Canon, publisher and CEO,, 415-290-1298

Ari Soglin, Managing editor,, 707-373-9240

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