The Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe is on the verge of opening—probably Tuesdayish! I talked to John White, deputy online editor & cafe champion, about what he hopes the local news & nosh will accomplish. If you look closely, you can see John typing away inside.
He tells me Free Press publisher Bob Cox was inspired to give the news cafe concept a try in Winnipeg after hearing about its success in the Czech Republic.
Crowdsourcing and inviting the community into the newsmaking process will encourage a hub of real-life social networking—a daily news meetup, if you will. “It’s kind of funny,” John says, “to use social media to go meet somewhere in person.”
Being able to chat with journalists over a Manitoba Club Sandwich will help demystify reporting & foster trust between the community and the media. “The key thing from my perspective is transparency. When you’re trying to engage a savvy audience, it’s kind of a must.”
That sense of ownership—a stake in the news because it’s about your community—is the basis for the hyperlocal news movement that publishers are embracing to fight the glut of free online news. Other news organizations in Winnipeg are also taking the hyperlocal approach, because it’s the one thing people can’t get from the broader internet: quality journalism about homegrown topics.
John likened the energy he hopes to spark on what was once Winnipeg’s historic newspaper row to “a tangible vibe, like you’re in New York or Chicago”. See you there for newslunch!