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Why Do the Representative Journalism Trial in Northfield, MN?

Seeing that I am situated in Kennesaw, Georgia, I am often asked why I decided to try my first Representative Journalism trial so far away in Northfield, Minnesota. When the question arises I say that I have worked for years with Griff Wigley, who probably understands online community building better than anyone else. He began years ago in helping start the Utne Reader online Cafes in 1995. Griff Wigley

His Locally Grown Northfield community affairs blog, which he operates with Tracy Davis and Ross Currier had its own online community. Every day the triumvirate blogs and every day Northfield citizens comment.

The triumvirate wanted a journalist, who would provide the time and energy to do the digging and reporting they could not. With funding from the Harnisch Foundation, we were able to provide them with Bonnie Obremksi, our first Representative Journalist.

Today a post by Griff Wigley demonstrates what a good decision it was to go with Locally Grown. Read Griff’s post, he perhaps understands the new news ecosystem better than 99 percent of the folks in the news business. It is a brilliant sketch of how things might be in the future.

Indeed, if he and the good folks of Northfield succeed, it will fulfill many of the promises of public journalism which got me involved in first developing the Representative Journalism concept. Watch the work of Wigley and friends, it might just change the face of journalism.

PS. Without Wigley there would be no He convinced me that I had to start blogging back in early 2003, when most of us were totally ignorant of blogging’s possibilities.

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