My good colleague and friend, Susan Mernit, has some great news to share. She has been awarded one of the eight 2009 New Voices grants awarded by J Lab with Knight Foundation support this year! Considering the grants fielded applications from over 300 applicants, she is thrilled to have gotten this two-year grant support.
So what's the funding for? It's to kick start Oakland Local, a new site for Oakland. Says Susan, "Oakland Local will be a daily-updated web site and mobile service with a focus on environment, climate, transportation, housing, local government and community activism in Downtown, Uptown, North Oakland, West Oakland, Fruitvale, Lake Merritt, and the Dimond District."
She plans to have an editor, a publisher and three paid part-time reporters who will produce content, along with community contributors. And of course, the site will be mobile-friendly as well, given current trends towards news distribution via mobile devices.
The site will also geotag content to an XML data map, encourage users to interact via cell phones and employ a range of social networking tools to surface, share and make discoverable so much of the amazing organizing and activism in Oakland.
Susan co-created New Jersey Online with Jeff Jarvis back in 1995 and, with this new project, hopes to offer an opportunity to provide so many groups working on issues in Oakland an opportunity to have their work and views be heard and seen.
This is a very exciting project to those of us interested in the gaps in information needs on a local level. Personally, Susan, I wish you the best in this new endeavor!