By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Citizen journalism in Watertown

I have an article (free reg. req.) in the new issue of CommonWealth Magazine on the citizen-journalism movement as exemplified by H2otown, a weblog covering Watertown. The piece focuses on Lisa Williams, who started the site about a year ago, and who covers town-council meetings by TiVoing them on the local-access channel and then taking notes after her kids have gone to bed.

Among other things, Williams tells me:

I don’t see H2otown as a newspaper, but it’s important to me that it add up to something. I’m not a professionally trained journalist. My coverage is limited by my babysitting coverage. I’m perfectly willing to be humble about that. But volunteer media is a heck of a lot better than no media. I’m angry at the economic realities of media consolidation. This is an extremely widespread problem.

Other folks I interviewed include Christopher Lydon, host of the blogified radio program “Open Source”; citizen-journalism pioneer Dan Gillmor; Universal Hub impresario Adam Gaffin; the Berkman Center’s Jonathan Zittrain; the Poynter Institute’s Steve Outing; Baristanet founder Debbie Galant; and Greg Reibman and Dan Atkinson of Community Newspaper Co., which publishes the Watertown Tab & Press.

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Thank God We’re a Two-Newspaper Town*


Nocera’s follow-up


  1. D. Sands

    Heroes among us.

  2. Paul

    H2Otown is not the only community blog. I recommend you to as well. I’m not sure how long Lynne has been doing LeftinLowell but she has several people helping her. Mimi almost always does a nice summary of Lowell City Council meetings every week. With the Lock Monsters up for sale and possibly leaving town and a major bridge reconstruction project and a 20-some acre redevelopment project on the edge of downtown there is always an issue being discussed. And I am sure there are other community oriented blogs. I would be interesting to see just how many have been started. I’m sure the residents of each community with a blog will be interested. It’s a way for grass-roots activism to take hold in a community. I know LeftinLowell was responsible for me to become involved in the recent Democratic Party caucuses to the point of having been elected as a delegate to the June convention. Two other LeftinLowell particpants were also elected delegates. And none of us had ever been involved in politics to any great extent before this. Hurray to LeftinLowell and to other community blogs for stimulating this interest!

  3. Paul

    My apologies — I should have added a hurrah to H2Otown as well as LeftinLowell!

  4. adamg

    More comunity journalism sites – a national list.

  5. Anonymous

    Actually, it’s Greg Reibman, not Riebman, of CNC…

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Fixed. You scared me for a moment, but it’s correct in the article. Thanks.

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