Category Archives: Project discussion

WSJ: “Newspapers need to act like they’re worth something”

This week, L. Gordon Crovitz of The Wall Street Journal wrote the opinion piece, ” Information Wants to Be Expensive: Newspapers need to act like they’re worth something.


Courtesy of

For years, Crovitz wrote, publishers and editors have asked the wrong question: Will people pay to access my newspaper content on the Web? The right question is: What kind of journalism can my staff produce that is different and valuable enough that people will pay for it online?

I’m interested in hearing what folks think of this essay. I’m not sure I agree with everything Mr. Crovitz writes. Haven’t most newspapers always been trying “valuable” content?

If independent writers in Northfield produced content that you valued more than that of a reporter employed by a company, would you be wiling to pay for that independent reporter to keep up his or her news beat?


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Filed under Business, National, Project discussion

Opinion: ‘You can’t sell news by the slice’

Sam Friedman of the Carletonian student newspaper told me about this New York Times opinion piece during our bi-weekly journalism discussion at the Goodbye Blue Monday cafe this morning.

” Newspaper readers have never paid for the content (words and photos). What they have paid for is the paper that content is printed on,” author Michael Kinsley wrote.

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Filed under Project discussion

Journalism coffee talk: Tuesday 8 a.m.

This is an open invitation for everyone to join Sam Friedman, a Carleton student, and me at the Goodbye Blue Monday cafe on Division Street tomorrow at 8 a.m. (Tuesday, Feb.9.) for journalism-related discussion.

Sam works at the Carletonian student newspaper. He suggested we form the discussion group after he attended a meeting in January at the Bittersweet Eatery during which a group of people talked about the Representative Journalism Project. We’ll put a sign on our table to identify where we’re sitting. Hope to see you there!

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Filed under Citizen Participation, Project discussion

Is it ‘fair’ to only pay for the NY Times?

The Associated Press article “NY Times Editor Hints At Return Of Online Access Fees” is attracting lively discussion on the Huffington Post Web site. Cynthia Typaldos, founder of the soon-to-be-launched Kachingle, recently posted the following comment. Kachingle is a company that will allow the public to easily bestow micro-payment donations contributions to their favorite Web sites.

“I fully understand your desire to pay something for the NYTimes. But what about the HuffPost? You are here too…are you getting some value from this news site? And what about the other sites/blogs that you read/use?

My point is that it might not be ‘fair’ to pay only for the NYTimes, but not for anything else that you actively use and value.”

What would the people of Northfield pay for, how much would they pay, and why? That’s one of the questions I’m trying to figure out and I’m wondering if my latest story is drawing any closer to a product citizens would value.


Filed under Business, Citizen Participation, Poll, Project discussion

MinnPost blog critic asks “What’s the best platform for bloggers?”


Coutesy of

Tooting my horn here: Justin Piehowski, 30, blog critic for and winner of five Regional Emmy Awards for his work as a Web Manager at KSTP-TV, asked bloggers some questions about their experiences launching blogs. Piehowski mentioned my RepJ blog and See what he wrote below in quotes:

“Bonnie Obremski uses WordPress on her new Representative Journalism Project blog. She was exposed to it while contributing to the community news site Locally Grown Northfield.”

She said she really likes the attractive templates on WordPress and has already recommended it to a family member. However, she gets very frustrated with trying to embed .html code of videos and slideshows from other sites onto her WordPress blog. The process is not smooth, she said.”

OK so not earth-shattering information coming from me there. But in case you’re interested in seeing the whole interview, which Justin and I did via e-mail (we’re facebook AND Twitter friends now!), read on.

Continue reading


Filed under Anecdotes, Business, Citizen Participation, LocallyGrownNorthfield, Project discussion, Project progress

President breaks promise to solicit online comments before signing bills

Embedded video from CNN Video

Even President Barack Obama has apparently failed to meaningfully engage U.S. citizens online in government goings-on, according to the Obameter on, maintained by the Saint Petersburg Times in Florida. Engaging citizens online is a goal many innovators in the journalism industry are struggling to reach today.

The president promised during his campaign that “to reduce bills rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them, Obama ‘will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days,’ according to PolitiFact.

The president broke the promise when he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on Jan. 29. without posting the item on the White House Web site first to allow for comment.

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Filed under Citizen Participation, Project discussion

How should online news look?

Today, I’m trying to come up with a way to make my news features look good. Producing well-reported news is important, but I think that information can get lost online if the information isn’t presented in a thoughtful, attractive way. My mother (boy she’s been sending me a lot of good links lately!) came across a new online magazine based in New York City and I’m interested to hear thoughts on the presentation. The online publication is called FLYP. Make sure your volume is not at full blast, the only part of the site I find annoying is the sound of flipping pages.


Filed under Project discussion, Project progress