NYU, NYTimes Launch Hyper-Local News Blog for East Village

That’s right, we’re rollin with the New York Times.

Launching today is The Local: East Village, a new hyper-local, interactive news site run by the university in collaboration with the Times. The website plans to cover the 110 city blocks bounded by 14th St. on the North, Houston Street to the South, the East River to the East and Broadway to the West. It will cover stories that people care about but don’t necessarily rise to a level of general interest, according Richard G. Jones, a former Times reporter and the site’s editor. These will hopefully encompass “every aspect of life” in the East Village: social issues, business, culture, crime, and maybe even how everybody hates NYU.

One of the website’s goals is to have at least 50% of its content be produced by members of the community. Anyone, from concerned neighbors to bystanders with camera phones (but mostly journalism undergrads eager to be affiliated with the Times), will be able to submit content through The Local’s Virtual Assignment Desk. The feature allows readers to send in stories, photographs, multimedia, and news tips.

“It really is an open invitation to everyone in our community,” said Jones. “We want to bring everyone we can to the table.” For the most part, though, the site will be maintained by grad students enrolled in The Hyperlocal Newsroom, a new course in NYU’s Reporting New York program.

So, is there any way to make some money out of this? “We plan to pay for at least some of the contributions flowing into the Local East Village from the community, students and freelancers,” Jay Rosen, one of the faculty advisors for the site, said back in February.

Sweet, right? Well, sort of. “How much we can pay and what percentage of the content will be paid for, well, we cannot say at the moment,” he said, which translates roughly to “don’t get your hopes up.” But The Local isn’t a venture of profit. “This project is a recognition of the immense potential of digital journalism to bring together communities like ours,” said Jones. That, and it’s also the easiest way to add “published in the New York Times” to your resume. It’s OK, no one has to know it was an iPhone photo of a street drummer in Alphabet City.

Check it out: The Local: East Village.



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