Serve as New Rochelle's town square on the web.
New Rochelle's Talk of the Sound allows anyone to create a blog where they can publish articles, photos, videos and more. Every post will be appear on the Front Page under "recent blog posts" and the best content each day will be featured throughout the site. The goal is to give everyone in town a voice and let folks "talk" to each other through blog posts, comments on those posts, videos and photos. At its core, the site is what is known as a hyper-local news site. Wikipedia says...
...the term "hyperlocal" is sometimes used to refer to news coverage of community-level events. In the past, the mainstream media has not covered, e.g. street repair on your street, because most people's interest extends beyond their own neighborhood to their city, their state, their nation, and the wide world of science and international affairs beyond. The increased usage of digital media devices (e.g. photo and video cameras, audio recorders), blogs, new media, and participation in social media, has made hyperlocal media content more widely available, but unfortunately it has not made it more interesting, at least not across the board. However, this has not stopped mainstream media moguls from becoming fascinated in the possibility that local-scale media availability, when multiplied by many small locales, will somehow come to their rescue, driving reader eyeballs and advertising dollars to their media sites.
Other terms that get tossed around to describe a site like this are words like "place blogging", "open source journalism", "citizen journalism", "participatory journalism", and "social media". In fact, there is a great site which is dedicated to nothing but placebloggers. As you can see on that site, there are thousands of "placeblogger" sites all over the U.S.A. We decided it was time that New Rochelle joined in the fun. In the broader sense this sort of a web-site is often referred to as "Web 2.0" based on the idea that "Web 1.0" was more about replicating the sort of "one-to-many" flow of information found in traditional media. Web 2.0 often serves as short-hand for web sites that operate on a "many-to-many" model.
In our case, this web site is built on open-source software called Drupal which has many "Web 2.0" features, some of which are currently enabled on this site and other features which may be added over time. The two most important "Web 2.0" features of the site are the ability of anyone to create a blog within the site and the ability to comment on articles published in those blogs. In addition, we are taking advantage of other "Web 2.0" services and protocols like RSS and RSS Mashups, YouTube, Delicious, Flickr, various widgets and many others to provide dynamically updated content to the site - all with a New Rochelle flavor. We have feeds being aggregated on the site from various official New Rochelle news sources, articles about or that mention New Rochelle via Google News and other sources. To jump start things a bit we've also created some blogs based on public information coming from public officials, companies, schools and other sources. These are meant to demonstrate the capabilities of the site and encourage others to join and become content contributors.
For many folks that will be gibberish so here it is in plain English: we want to give every person in New Rochelle their own soap box from which they can talk about whatever topic interests them. We welcome any person, company, school, ad hoc organization, community group, religious group, government office, entertainer, artist, writer, journalists, photographer, and any other individual or group to join and create their own blog within our site. All new blog posts will appear on the home page as "recent posts" but as the site becomes more active those stories will change often. Some posts will become "featured" posts and those will appear on the Front Page of the site. Of course, you can publish what you want - within some fairly wide bounds of reasonableness and taste - but only the best New Rochelle-related news, information, images and video will become "featured content". If you want to rant and rave about your neighbor you can do that but we would much rather get your account of how a tree limb fell and knocked out power in your neighborhood or your review of a school play or an article on an issue recently before the City Council. That is really what being a hyper-local site means.
Organizations may wish to simply use the site to publish press releases and announcements and that's fine but we'd also like to hear more from the people at the organization. The bottom line is that if you publish ANY New Rochelle-related content that would be of interest to New Rochelle residents or visitors, we want your content published in our site. To make that happen just drop us a line and we can set up an account for you and walk you through the basics of publishing on the site. If you can send an email, you can publish a "blog post" on our site. It's very easy. In fact, for those already sending out press releases or emails to email lists, you will be able to copy and paste directly into our site (the subject line is the "headline" and the body of the email is the "article").
For any questions, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you within a few hours - maybe even minutes if you're lucky :-)
To register for Talk of the Sound click here.
To get the most out of this (or any) blog web site and make it much easier to participate as a reader and blogger on this site, there are two simple steps you can take to make it easier to read blogs and other web sites [RSS READER] and to submit blog posts to this [BLOG EDITOR].