OJR misses point of community on GSO101

Disclaimer: I sit on the GSO101 Editor and Advisory Board
Figures that another person would miss the point of Greensboro101. Tom Grubisich, who is an online editor for Online Journalism Review still thinks in the old school fashion of website forum base. GSO101 is slightly more unique in that it is geared as a discussion motivator.

On a recent day the site’s homepage featured two bloggers’ takes on political forums the previous night (here and here). But neither posting offered much meat from the debates. Few of Greensboro101’s postings draw comments, even though Greensboro (population 227,000) is considered a very Internet-savvy city.

Obviously, there wasn’t due dilligence done here. Browsing the website really doesn’t count, Tom. Both Roch and Billy chime in to correct OJR and notes such events as ConvergeSouth and even the Blogger’s candidates forums. But Tom still doesn’t get it:

But why not put all reporting on the Sept. 27 forum in one place and as early as possible? Then, users of your site who are also voters wouldn’t have to browse and browse right up until Election Day to make informed decisions. And, of course, they could also enliven the community conversation that I think your site has yet to create.

So OJR, I have news for you. Here’s the lowdown and nitty gritty of what Greensboro101 does if you totally missed Roch’s concise explanation. I’ll even bullet it for you.

  • Greensboro101 is an aggregator. Not a public forum.
  • Greensboro101’s mission is to generate local news via blogs, thereby pushing the comments to the blogs that are pushing the local news or setting up the events.
  • Greensboro101 is NOT like Backfence, or any site as such since it does not empower citizens for an onslaught of full articles. You blog your post, you summarize on GSO101 and others that are interested will link into your blog.
  • Greensboro101 is NOT a conventional news site either, whereas pretty much all of your other sites are basic alt-media news sites. These sites are no different from WaPo, NYT, or even CNN websites except for the fact that they allow citizen participation and sometimes include a forum.

The fact is, Greensboro101 is the only one that takes an unconventional approach to directing traffic to personal blogs, but yet becoming the glue that holds the community together at a “starting point” for all newcomers. Almost a pseudo-decentralized structuring? Definitely. That’s why GSO101 is unique and exciting. That’s also why Tom totally missed the point that community exists here, and it doesn’t require comments on the website to do so.
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