Posted by Lillie Schrock
According to an article on Mediabistro.com, newspapers are creating “news commons,” where community members can come interact with the staff of their local newspaper.
One of these newspapers is the Winnipeg Free Press, which opened a News Café in March in an attempt to create a stronger link to the community, said John White, the paper’s deputy online editor. The multimedia editor, video reporter and social media reporter of the Winnipeg Free Press all work out of the café.
White is also organizing a formal rotation of reporters who come to the café to meet with readers. In addition, the staff would like to schedule community events, such as book readings and debates between local politicians.“My main priority in pitching this café concept was to reestablish our physical link to the community,” White said.
Connecticut’s Register Citizen also has its own newsroom café and the Texas Tribune holds a festival every year. The festival “brings together the state’s most prominent thinkers, politicians and public servants for a weekend of debate, discussion and dialogue on the subjects that matter most to all Texans,” according to texastribune.org.
“With the news commons, we hope to become the community hub where people come to freely share ideas and learn how to tell their own stories and be heard,” White said.
The Winnipeg Free Press café is thriving financially. In addition to working with their restaurateur, Dom Amatuzio, the space has some corporate sponsors
What are your thoughts on news cafés? Is this a good idea to forge relationships between community members and a newspaper staff? Do you have a better idea?