Non-profit journalism in New Haven


Last month I took two reporting trips for my book-in-progress about online journalism and community participation. I took advantage of the opportunity to shoot several video interviews, which I am now editing and posting on YouTube.

My first stop was in New Haven, where I spent some time with Paul Bass, the founder and editor of the New Haven Independent. I also interviewed his managing editor, Melissa Bailey, and Mark Brackenbury, managing editor of the daily New Haven Register. If you don’t see my video (above), click here. I apologize for the sound quality; I should have interviewed Bass somewhere other than a loud coffee-and-bagel shop, but he’s a busy guy.

The Independent is a non-profit community news site that’s similar to Voices of San Diego and MinnPost. Bass, an award-winning New Haven journalist and former editor of the alternative New Haven Advocate, tools around the city on his bicycle with a notebook and a small video camera.

In March I interviewed Christine Stuart, whose state political site, CT News Junkie, serves as the Independent’s Statehouse bureau.

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A visit with CT News Junkie editor Christine Stuart

Find more videos like this on Wired Journalists

I spent last Wednesday with Christine Stuart, the editor of CT News Junkie, which covers Connecticut politics. Stuart, who’s based at the Statehouse in Hartford, posts two to four times a day, often covering hearings on important but secondary stories that the mainstream media ignore.

CT News Junkie is a media partner with the New Haven Independent, one of the more interesting experiments in non-profit, Web-based community journalism. Projects such as these are crucial as we seek to grope our way forward through the economic crisis that has befallen the news business. (CT News Junkie is technically a for-profit company, but Stuart is looking into ways of taking it non-profit.)

I visited Stuart as part of a long-range project. But while I was there, I shot some video and put together a six-minute documentary. I hope you’ll take a few moments and have a look.

Some technical notes. After spending about an hour trying to edit my video with iMovie ’08, I gave up and used iMovie 6 instead. The lack of precision for coordinating audio and B-roll with iMovie ’08 is a source of constant frustration, and I’ve finally given up. I can’t believe I subjected my students to it last semester. Maybe iMovie ’09 will be a better solution.

I also was unable to post the result to YouTube, even though the format (MP4), the length (well under 10 minutes) and the file size (under 100 MB) all meet YouTube’s guidlines. Vimeo didn’t work, either. I finally posted it successfully to Wired Journalists, which uses the Ning platform designed by Netscape founder Marc Andreesen.

If anyone out there has some thoughts as to why this proved to be YouTube-unfriendly, please drop me a line or post a comment. I’d still like to get this up on YouTube.