Moving Forward With the Manifesto, Part I

Back in April, when I first posted the Manifesto for a New Pittsburgh, a number of commenters wanted specifics. How is the Manifesto going to take hold? What should people do? I've owed some responses for awhile. I'll take this in small steps. Here is Part I: The Media.

"The Media" for my purposes here refers to one institution: Pittsburgh's major newspaper, the Post-Gazette. One commenter on the Manifesto wrote:
There has to be a leadership role for the Post-Gazette to help build these bridges globally. You would think that a business that is desparately looking for a life-line might see how they can re-invent themselves by identifying their customers not by a geographic region (which is so meaningless in the Internet age,) but by the people who have a connection with Pittsburgh. Just think - the number of people who used to live here is probably greater than those that still do. If their content served such people, their readership could become larger than ever, and in turn, reverse the declining ad revenues. And, it would still be called the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette! Do you think they would ever embrace the principles? I think it's important to have such a communications vehicle embracing the manifesto.

I think that's right, and I think that the Post-Gazette could be that vehicle -- or an important vehicle, in any event. The P-G's editor, David Shribman, wrote in a while later, hoping to get some suggestions. It turns out that Doc Searls, blogger and observer of things digital, preceded all three of us. Doc has this terrific post for newspapers trying to find their way in the networked world. These are great starting points for a diasporan Post-Gazette. I've included Doc's bullet points. Read his post for what each of them means. Not all of these apply to the P-G, and not all of them apply with equal force. But many do. And any other media vehicle for the diapora should take many of these points to heart.
1) Stop giving away the news and charging for the olds.
2) Start featuring archived stuff on the paper's website.
3) Link outside the paper.
4) Start following, and linking to, local bloggers and even competing papers (such as the local arts weeklies).
5) Start looking toward the best of those bloggers as potential stringers.
6) Start looking to citizen journalists (CJs) for coverage of hot breaking local news topics.
7) Stop calling everything "content."
8) Uncomplicate your websites.
9) Get hip to the Live Web
10) Publish Rivers of News for readers who use Blackberries or Treos or Nokia 770s, or other handheld Web browsers
11) Remember the higher purpose behind the most informative writing — and therefore behind newspapers as well. To review


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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