CCTV Launches New NeighborMedia.org

CCTV Launches New NeighborMedia.org

Fresh look for Cambridge citizen journalism with dynamic, robust news site

  • Posted on: 27 March 2015
  • By: frank

Cambridge residents want more local news and Cambridge Community Television is giving it to them in a fresh, bold way with a makeover of NeighborMedia.org, its citizen journalism web site.

Launched in 2007, NeighborMedia is a program of CCTV that trains Cambridge residents to become reporters covering the people, places, issues and events of their very own neighborhoods. NeighborMedia.org, the URL containing these multimedia stories, had been housed on CCTV’s own site, cctvcambridge.org. Now, in an effort to give NeighborMedia a distinct identity, a newsier feel and a stronger community presence, CCTV is spinning off NeighborMedia.org into its own web site with a design and interface that is all its own. The brand new NeighborMedia.org officially launched this week.

In September of last year, CCTV fielded a survey of Cambridge residents to determine whether there is an interest among Cantabrigians in receiving more local news and information – and if so, what kinds and through which means. After 341 surveys were completed, CCTV decided now is the time to place a larger emphasis on delivering news.

“In the shadow of the Boston media market, Cambridge – a city of 105,000 residents – is not served by a daily newspaper or commercial television station.” CCTV Executive Director Susan Fleischmann said. “Over the past eight years, Cambridge Community Television has undertaken a number of strategic initiatives to address the critical need for providing local news and information to a local audience. This includes creating NeighborMedia and supporting its journalists to cover stories that would mostly go underreported or not reported at all in the mainstream media.”

Findings from the CCTV 2014 Local News and Information Survey revealed:

  • 83 percent of respondents would like to receive more Cambridge local news and information.
  • Of this group, 82 percent would or might like to receive it from CCTV.
  • The top three ways these respondents would like to receive this information from CCTV are through CCTV’s website, by email and through its television channels.
  • Among those who would like to receive more Cambridge local news and information, the top four desired topics are Arts and Culture, Breaking News, Events and Politics.

The survey results in their entirety can be viewed at cctvcambridge.org/cambridgenewssurvey.

“Taking these findings into consideration, we made it our goal for NeighborMedia.org to become a robust and dynamic Cambridge news site that changes daily. We want it to be the place people in Cambridge turn to for all Cambridge news, but most importantly, for local news and information they won’t find anywhere else,” Fleischmann said.

Most content on NeighborMedia.org will continue to come from CCTV’s team of volunteer Cambridge reporters, who in exchange for two written or one video piece per month receive a free Access Membership and free unlimited classes at CCTV. But now NeighborMedia.org will also feature Cambridge-centric contributions from guest correspondents, who may include city and school leaders, local politicians, community activists, area journalism students, and representatives from the Cambridge business and nonprofit sectors. In addition, headlines from other Cambridge outlets – including Cambridge Chronicle, Cambridge Day, Scout Cambridge, the City of Cambridge, Harvard, MIT and more – will appear in a section called “In the News.” Meanwhile, all the latest tweets from these entities and others will stream in a block dubbed the “Cambridge Twittersphere.”

“In a world where the vast majority of media is produced by corporate interests, citizen journalism pieces, such as those at NeighborMedia.org, are crucial reflections of daily life,” NeighborMedia reporter Anna Weick said.

“My hope and intent as a NeighborMedia reporter is to document the nuanced issues of my neighborhood and to shine a light on the not-so-trending individuals and characters that bring vibrancy to the community,” correspondent Kristina Kehrer said.

Those interested in becoming a NeighborMedia reporter may apply by April 10, 2015. Information and applications are available here. Those interested in becoming a guest contributor can contact frank@cctvcambridge.org or 617-401-4007.