A proposal for a West Oakland neighborhood Web site as part of the Oakland Tribune

Convener:      Jane Stevens


  • Dan Gillmor
  • Stacy Lynch
  • Silja Talvi
  • Karen Toering
  • Lew Friedland
  • Lisa Cohen
  • Jarah Euston
  • Ralph Gage


New Story Forms pg 31

Home page has its own url, with Oakland Tribune branding. For West Oakland, it is the absolute portal to the Oakland Tribune and other resources in Oakland. A link to the site also appears on the Tribune Web site. It provides a rich, vivid picture of the community. Its content is solution-oriented. It contains issue “shells” that follow an issue to its logical conclusion. The voices of the community are as prominent as the professional journalists’ stories. It is a place for conversation, for stories, for information.

Site contains:

  • an interactive, layered map that can be annotated by community members
  • data, such as property sales, new business licenses, health updates
  • oral histories that are streamed and podcast
  • entertainment listings
  • restaurant listings
  • local sports
  • resources, such as directory of services by nonprofits, local community groups
  • school updates
  • calendar
  • automatic advertising taker/builder and classified advertising intake system
  • community celebrations
  • local bloggers
  • blogs by mayor, congressional representative, city council representative
  • search by zipcode
  • ability to create sub-neighborhood sites

Types of stories that professional journalists do:

  • Ask the community, which has four or five different ethnic groups.
  • Report on community celebrations.
  • Cover stories ignored or left out, such as tensions between ethnic groups.

Considerations for implementation:

  • Free archives, with keyword links to stories.
  • Software to screen forums and bloggers in which first ten posts of contributor are vetted by editor; ban abusers so that their post does not appear on site, but looks like it does on their computer.
  • Forums require registration with a valid email address.

How to engage community:

  • Create a community advisory committee.
  • Create a “third place” in the community, a place where the Tribune reporter interacts with members of the community. Could be a coffee house; could be a storefront with computer terminals and a coffee bar. Comes equipped with scanners, etc., so that community members can do stories; also a meeting place for people to meet with newspaper or other experts (local records, health & wellness).


  • High school Web sites that link to West Oakland site – partner with Center for Digital Storytelling to train students to tell own stories that appear on high school and West Oakland Web site.
  • Partner, broker a deal for each high school to cover an issue, print broadsheet for each and insert into print paper, assign news staff and designers to help.
  • Daily pdf of neighborhood news that can be posted in neighborhood businesses.
  • Youth site
  • Parents site


  • Two years to establish, at least two academic cycles

How to start:

  • Make a list we can do ASAP
  • Make it appealing – how? Ask the community!
  • Launch before you’re ready
  • Remember that the constituents not covered are the most important.
  • What do you say when they ask why ANG is finally doing this…”We’re investing in the community, want to work with you.”


  • Berkeley Parents Network (clone this, says Dan)
  • Real Change (Seattle newspaper by and for homeless)
  • 826 San Francisco (writing workshops for community)
  • Youth Media Council (Oakland)


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