Pittsburgh Citizen Launches

Welcome to the online world to The Pittsburgh Citizen, a "citizen journalism" project hatched under the auspices of the Public Square Project, a local social enterprise backed by the Sprout Fund and led by Ryan Hopkins. The official launch happened last night at the Sprout Fund's annual Hothouse event (a party that I was too tired and not hip enough to attend), but the site went live shortly before that.

What is The Pittsburgh Citizen and what is "citizen journalism"? The quotation marks are there because I'm not sure of the answer to that question. Perhaps no one really knows, at least not yet. The Pittsburgh Citizen (originally "PittPoint" but now renamed and somewhat refocused) aims to aggregate some existing volunteer writing about Pittsburgh (you will find some Pittsblog content there) and also to publish original writing.

The game plan is partly to "crowdsource" the news, thus defining one bit of jargon in terms of another, but also to advance some balls that the traditional media might miss. The Public Square Project is about citizen-led efforts at transparency and accountability in local government. And there is clearly room in the region for a sort of local Huffington Post, an aggregation of sharp commentary on topics that existing media might or might not cover, might or might not have room to cover, or might cover only with the blandness that appeals primarily to the older, backward-looking demographic that makes up so much of the Post-Gazette's audience. The Pittsburgh Citizen might even take on the role of telling Pittsburgh "that's the way it is" in the way that no local medium does today. As I wrote earlier when I mentioned PittPoint, Bram Reichbaum, Chris Potter, and ADB can do only so much.

Will this work? I don't know. But it's worth a good try. Will The Pittsburgh Citizen look in six months like it looks now? I doubt it. It looks good today. I hope that it looks even better then.


1 Response to "Pittsburgh Citizen Launches"

joe said... 8/30/2009 9:06 PM

Looks great.

On this topic, the Netroots Nation session titled, Local Blogs: Covering City and County Government and Empowering Activism is now available for viewing (along with a lot of the other sessions, from this year and earlier years).

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About Pittsblog

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

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

Pittsblog 2.0 has a motto: "It's steel good in Pittsburgh." Say it aloud, with a Pittsburgh accent.

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