Sunday, May 16, 2010

Two interesting takes on Civil Beat

I've been away from this blog for a couple of weeks, focused on work at my new job at Civil Beat.
But I wanted to point out two thoughtful pieces that give a good outside perspective on what we're doing at Honolulu Civil Beat and how our effort fits into the search for a new business/editorial model for local news.

Rick Edmonds, author of The Biz Blog at the Poynter Institute, is a seasoned and measured observer of the news business. His blog post accurately captured what we've done up till now.

Mark Potts, author of the savvy Recovering Journalist blog, provides an analysis of how our discussions at Civil Beat are working and whether our approach to comments is leading to the kind of civil discourse we said we wanted to support. I loved his headline, "Reader Comments, Hawaiian-style," because it captured the spirit we hope permeates what we're doing.

Both pieces provide an informed assessment of where we are at Civil Beat.

One thing I would add is that I've been struck by how quickly we can change at a start-up where the software developers built the site and know its guts so well. Not even two weeks have passed since our hard launch, and the site is very different from its first day. As are our subscription offers. We still have our $19.99 full members, but have added a daily membership for $1.49 and a discussion membership for 99 cents for 30 days.


  1. Very interesting start, John. Congratulations. I'm a big skeptic of pay models, but I'm also intrigued by the possibility of the quality of discussion on a pay site. And I like the new pricing options.
    We're all watching closely. Someone's going to make this work.
    (Funny that you use the word "savvy" in a positive sense. Hope Jay Rosen isn't watching.)

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