A lesson in this video for newspapers? I think so.
I may be late to this great video, but if you haven't seen it, you must. What the people at "Playing for Change" have done with the song "Stand by Me" suggests an exciting possibility for newspapers that want to bring a sense of understanding and connection to their readers.
Journalism at its best builds a common sense of humanity among different people. That's one of the reasons I admired the work Melissa Block did this week on NPR's All Thing Considered program from China. How could a parent anywhere else in the world not put him or herself into the shoes of the Chinese mothers and fathers who lost a child in the earthquake last year? Block brought people together with her reporting. It was impossible not to feel a common sense of humanity with complete strangers half way around the world.
Well, if you look at the "Stand by Me" video I think you'll see an example of how local journalists could work together to do something similar, if perhaps not always so profound, without ever traveling. And this approach could involve readers, who could provide their own images and video for the projects.
Take something as simple as going to work in the morning. Or breakfast. If either topic was linked across the country or the world it would make for what I think could be a fascinating experience. And it could exist on every participating newspaper's (or news organization's) Web site.
That would be something I'd look forward to finding on a Web site. And I could see it having applicability in print, too.
Newspapers need to look outside their own businesses for models of what they should be trying today.