My Ballard, Seattle Times form partnership

We’re excited to announce an editorial partnership with the Seattle Times that encompasses My Ballard and the rest of Next Door Media’s sites, PhinneyWood, Queen Anne View, Magnolia Voice and Fremont Universe. The partnership originated with a grant by American University’s J-Lab, which aims to explore how established media companies can work together with promising neighborhood news sites.

You may have noticed over the last several weeks that SeattleTimes.com and MyBallard.com have been linking each other on stories, and that’s a component of the partnership. We’ll be exploring other ways to work together in coming weeks and months. Our friends at West Seattle Blog, Capitol Hill Seattle and Rainier Valley Post are also part of the partnership.

This is a testament to all of you — our readers, contributors and advertisers — who have helped make My Ballard a part of the neighborhood. My Ballard is powered by the neighorhood, not us. The vast majority of stories originate from our readers, and now some of the best stories will be linked from Seattle’s largest news site. We’re very pleased that the Times has chosen to work together with organic, neighborhood-grown news sites instead of creating competing efforts designed to draw advertising dollars away from the neighborhood.

And, of course, we’d also like to thank the editors of Next Door Media sites in our nearby neighborhoods: Doree Armstrong and Dale Steinke at PhinneyWood.com, John and Loree Schoonover at MagnoliaVoice.com, and Thea Chard and Judy at QueenAnneView.com.

The press release from the Seattle Times follows below…

The Seattle Times forms partnership with local news Web sites

PRESS RELEASE — The Seattle Times and some of Seattle’s most respected neighborhood news Web sites have struck a unique partnership as part of a nationwide Networked Journalism pilot project. The project, which will last one year, is overseen by American University’s J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The other national news organizations participating in the pilot program are The Miami Herald, The Charlotte Observer, the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times and TucsonCitizen.com.

The overall goals of the alliance are to explore new ways to broaden newsgathering capabilities and further connections within the community. The Seattle Times will work with community news producers and Web sites that are staffed with professionals who share The Seattle Times’ journalistic values.

“We’ve been moving down this track already, but much too slowly,” said David Boardman, executive editor of The Seattle Times. “This will both kick-start it, give us a better organizing framework and give us a way to share successes and challenges with others. It’s perfect timing.”

The four local producers and Web sites partnering with The Seattle Times are: Tracy Record, who runs West Seattle Blog and White Center Now; Kate Bergman, who runs Next Door Media, which includes My Ballard, PhinneyWood, Queen Anne View, Magnolia Voice and Fremont Universe; Justin Carder, who runs Capitol Hill Seattle and helped create Neighborlogs, which is the platform for several neighborhood sites in Seattle; and Amber Campbell, who runs the Rainier Valley Post.

The goals of the partnership include: enhancing communication between the respective Web sites and The Seattle Times, and discovering ways to share news tips and collaborate on future news gathering; linking to and promoting stories on partner sites when it may help fill coverage holes; exploring tools that could enhance advertising opportunities across the partner sites; and learning about how such partnerships can benefit the respective sites.

At the conclusion of the project, The Seattle Times will meet with the four other nationally participating news organizations and the lessons learned will appear in an overall J-Lab report on how such Networked Journalism collaborations might work.


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Herschell / Special*Dark
Guest

Congrats!

Silver
Member

WOW, guys! That's HUGE!!!

Way to do it right!!

BentonJ
Guest
BentonJ

I love MyBallard and have contributed story ideas to it often, but I am concerned about this move.

We – the posters, witnesses, bloggers, etc. are not trained journalists. To mingle what is presented here as journalism further blurs the line of what is “news”.

Undoubtedly, this is kind of cooperation between neighborhood sites and larger news entities is the way of the future. It is a relatively inexpensive way for The Seattle Times to generate content. However, I fear standards (and beat reporters' jobs) may be lost in the process, and I worry what Cronkite would think…

NoraBell
Guest
NoraBell

Very cool. Mon congrats to all!
And I look at this as more of a surrender by the Seattle Times. ;-)

Penny
Guest
Penny

Congratulations!

donarb
Member
donarb

And what of the PI? Will they be banned from linking to MyBallard articles?

kim1234
Guest
kim1234

i think that the Times already considers the responses submitted by bloggers is not necessarily journalist gold. it's mostly comment. if the Times doesn't get that, we're in a world of hurt. GRATULERAR!

Gurple
Member

Congratulations, Swedes! This is a real recognition of the work you've done here.

And now, let's all prepare for an onslaught of newbies. I'll keep an open mind, but seattletimes.com seems to attract some pretty unsavory individuals. The comments on their Ted Kennedy article, for instance: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/read

keyboard kitty
Guest
keyboard kitty

So what changes from the perspective of those who want to advertise on here? Err, sorry, I meant “sponsor”.

Will prices increase?

Or is this simply a cooperation of pasting links/content between both sites without concern for legal issues?

squid
Member

Thanks Benton for your comments. To be clear, all of our stories (those that appear in the center column of the site) are written by my wife and me, and we're both experienced journalists (KING 5, NWCN, NBC News, KCPQ, etc.) The stories originate from our readers and contributors, and we perform the traditional checks and newsgathering before posting them — a layer of journalism over the top of an empowered community.

squid
Member

There are no limitations on which sites we can link. For example, we've worked well in the past with KING 5 and KIRO 7, and this partnership does not prohibit any collaboration with them.

JM98107
Member
JM98107

I’d be suspicious of any deal with the Times. They’re just looking for free stories because of their own staff reductions.

NoraBell
Guest
NoraBell

I'm so afraid of what I'll see there that I didn't even go to the comments section of the Ted Kennedy story. They were bad then? The story itself made me what to punch out the reporter.
I know I'll do my best not to feed the trolls, though.

angelatini
Guest
angelatini

I think it's great…and it's the closest my Journalism major will ever get me to being a bona fide journalist. hahahaha

squid
Member

This is an editorial partnership, not a sales one. No connection whatsoever.

As for legality, the Times does not assume any risk in linking us, and we've taken the same legal precautions with our own coverage (written by experienced journalists) as any other news organization.

ducksinseattle
Guest
ducksinseattle

s.b. “my wife and me”

ballardmom5
Guest
ballardmom5

I think it's great! It's just a shame that the local newspaper hasn't also sought a similar relationship (instead of trying to create their own blog).

Bangoskank
Guest
Bangoskank

This was exactly what popped into my head as I read the news. Nailed it!

Bangoskank
Guest
Bangoskank

While I understand the initial reaction to be hesitancy, I feel that this is a great move and decision by both parties. I also feel it was realistically the next step in new age of journalism.

I am certain I am not alone in thinking that our “posters, witnesses, bloggers, etc.” can hold just as much merit as the people informing the news papers and tv stations. Only, we can react much faster with the speed and uninterrupted broadcasting by the interwebs. As long as we have a well seasoned journalist fact checking and presenting the information in a professional way (which I'm sure we can all agree the Geeky Swedes are doing a fantastic job at) I think local news will be much more reliable and accessible this way.

BTown
Guest
BTown

Booo. It's because MyBallard is doing micro blog news that people car about and Seattle times wants to use that. I think this is a bad thing and the Seattle Times is using you…

MyBallard is just cheep news for Seattle Times.

NoraBell
Guest
NoraBell

The Times is drowning and grasping at a rope, sure. But it also means a wider readership and more sponsors for MyBallard and the other neighborhood blogs. I have faith that the Geeky Swedes won't let the Times take over this blog they work so hard on.

SPG
Guest
SPG

Yeah, it's not just the Times comments sections, but newspaper comments across the board include a generous mix of Libertarian cranks, gun nuts, racists, and borderline sociopaths. We saw a few pop up on the health care story and then mostly disappear, so with any luck they'll feel outnumbered and stay away. Besides, most of what they get away with on the newspaper comments would be a violation of the rules here and get their comments pulled.

dtbellevue
Guest

What I find strange is that they are doing both, partnering with blogs, and also creating them for some neighborhoods. They don't seem to be consistent across the board.

ballardmom5
Guest
ballardmom5

It could be the Times is creating blogs in neighborhoods that don't have one, or one that is as well run as MyBallard…?

HeardOnthe44
Guest
HeardOnthe44

Great news ! (I hope)
I love that MyBallard is Powered by the People….
I hope that never changes.