Site Spotlight: Neighborsgo.com at the Dallas Morning News–Evolution in Citizen Journalism

This post was written by new Texas-based OMNI curator JD Meyer (bohemiotx).

Neighborsgo.com is a citizen journalism/user-generated content website moderated by the Dallas Morning News, the fourth largest news market in the US.

Neighborsgo.com started as print site for citizen journalism in 2005, and it evolved into a website by April 2007 and now has a spot on Facebook. It developed the reverse publishing model, calling it “find,share, and connect.” Subscribers to the regular DMN paper actually get Neighborsgo in their Friday paper. You can also find Neighborsgo in 450 locations. By July 2010, the web edition of Neighborsgo had 22,000 members and over 55,400 stories. The Neighborsgo editors are so cool that they meet every other week at Starbuck’s scattered around the Metroplex. Plus, they really have a gigantic editorial staff–necessary for fact verification.

To write about a citizen journalism in a forum sense, one should become a part of their writing community first to really experience the site. And Neighborsgo.com is a wonderful site!

I submitted a couple of articles about city issues in Tyler, the largest city in East Texas and 100 miles east of Dallas. The Tyler Industry Growth Initiative (IGI) plans on promoting  Tyler’s semi-closeness to Dallas, so writing for Neighborsgo.com seemed like a good thing for a Tyler writer to do. The IGI has ten strategies designed to bring Tyler into the innovation economy era. On the other hand, I protested the conclusions of the Tyler Transit consultants. Moreover, I was born and raised in Dallas, living there for 3/5 of my 51 years.

Regarding the look of the site, you can post a story, photo or video and create a blog, and the major interest categories are Know your neighbor, Focus on faith, Pets, Military, Schools and Making a difference. Besides these six categories, you can find Arts/Entertainment, Business, Food, Sports, Senior Spotlight, In the Classroom, State Fair, Advice, City News, and Transportation.

When you publish an article for neighborsgo.com, you need to enter a community also, such as East Dallas or North Oak Cliff. Besides the DFW area, other entities are part of the community, notably DART (the bus/train serivce) and Jason Castro–American Idol candidate from Rockwall–a suburb northeast of Dallas, and Lenny Kravitz, since he sung in a Lewisville choir, together with something called “Dharma Initiative.” Stephenville, a small city southeast of Dallas, got on the list despite being well away from the Metroplex.

Neighborsgo.com looks like a great site to have on one’s short list of sites for citizen journalism articles if you live near Dallas-Forth Worth. If you don’t live in north or east Texas, then do an Internet search for another major US city that sponsors a citizen journalism/user-generated content section.

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11 2010

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