Digital First continues expansion of community media labs

Northeast Ohio political candidates visit the new community meeting space at the News-Herald in Willoughby.
(Steve Buttry/Digital First)
Northeast Ohio political candidates visit the new community meeting space at the News-Herald in Willoughby. (Steve Buttry/Digital First)

It has been almost three years since the Torrington Register-Citizen opened its newsroom to the public with a community media lab and newsroom cafe. Even after the initial buzz died down, the idea of putting DFM newsrooms at the center of their communities continued to resonate with us.

At least 20 other Digital First newspapers from Connecticut to California have since incorporated some sort of dedicated space for the local community into their newsrooms. The offerings are as diverse as the communities served, ranging from blogging stations and community media rooms to mobile newsrooms complete with their own Twitter presence. In some locations, the community labs have become so valuable to the newsroom’s mission that dedicated staff are assigned to their operation. Heritage Media-West Managing Editor Michelle Rogers, who originally began working with her local community media labs as part of an IdeaLab project, recently took a new job as the director of community engagement and training for Michigan’s Journal Register papers.

To help track the growth of these community spaces, we’ve compiled the following map of every Digital First newspaper we’re aware of that has started such a project, as well as services available and a link to their websites. If you know of a DFM newspaper that we missed, or you want to suggest a change, use this form to reach us.

Patrick Hogan

By Patrick Hogan

My name is Patrick Hogan and I'm a member of the breaking news team. I work evenings and weekends putting together stories on the latest events happening in the world. I'm also a member of the Thunderdrones committee that's looking at how drones fit into the future of journalism. I'm learning how to code in my spare time and recently used that knowledge to create the Upworthify Twitter account on Thunderdome Serendipity Day.

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