Westerners

I’m back in Cambridge this morning after a great couple of days at the ONA conference in Toronto.

The highlight of my trip was time spent with Courtney Lowery and Matt Frank of NewWest.net.

I look up to those guys. Unlike most ONA types, they’re balancing
great local journalism with the urgency of an independent business.

Every
news site and their corporate parent is trying new approaches to local
news. But the New West folks are hungrier and humbler than anybody I know. They
loose their jobs if the site doesn’t work, so they think differently.

Listen to Rob Curley talk about the Louden Country Extra, and
you’re awed by the depth and quality of the site. It’s like the Ritz
serving up Sunday brunch. Endless richness.

Talk to Courtney
and Matt, and you hear similar instances of excellent journalism. But
you also hear stories of conferences, community meetings and reporters
who can sell advertising space over urinals. This isn’t the Ritz. It’s
a parent doing what it takes to put dinner on the table.

That kind of thinking excites me. There are no hangups about
what should be done and what has been done. Just deep value for
information, community and story-telling — and a youthful willingness
to try anything that might advance those values.

9Neighbors is a very different approach to local news in a
very different community. Nevertheless, we emulate New West’s bold, unfettered style.

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