Future Of News? Newsroom As A Cafe

from the come-on-in-and-chat dept

Jeff Sonderman points us to the fascinating story of a newspaper in the Czech Republic that is experimenting with making newsrooms into cafes. One of my big complaints about newspapers these days is how little they've done to help enable their community to participate in the news process (whether it's finding, writing, discussing, distributing or sharing the news). However, it looks like Nase Adresa is going a step further than just enabling the community online. It's enabling it in real space as well -- creating a news cafe. It combines both a newsroom and a typical cafe, so people can come and interact with editors and reporters, see the paper being created -- or even chip in and help out as well. And they're also doing more to serve the community than just offering up coffee and bites to eat, but are also holding concerts at the cafes as well (rescuing news and the music industry in one shot?). Apparently circulation is growing -- with 50% of subscriptions coming from people who happened to stop into the cafe.

The other interesting bit is that it appears that each of the cafes is working on producing specialized local content for just that local community -- all supported by a more centralized newsroom/journalist training center in Prague. So, there's a main newsroom, and then each local cafe gets to produce its own version, mixing news from the central source as well as locally produced content. The local papers/cafes need about 5 full-time employees, with plenty of other local volunteers or part-timers. It's still early in this experiment, so I do have some questions about how it functions long-term, but it is still nice to see a newspaper that actually focuses on serving a community directly. Next up? The Techdirt cafe?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Oct 2009 @ 2:53pm

    Can't wait to see the cost/benefit ratio on these things.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PopeHilarius (profile), 16 Oct 2009 @ 3:19pm

    Looks like we've come full circle- the modern newspaper has its roots in the coffee houses, cafes, and clubs of the 16th and 17th century where people would congregate to read and discuss current events.

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  • icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 16 Oct 2009 @ 3:20pm

    The TechDirt Cafe Menu

    1. Trollburgers
    2. Oysters on the Half-Shill
    3. PC & Cheese
    4. Dark Helmet's Ass Exploding Chili

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Danny (profile), 16 Oct 2009 @ 3:35pm


    Interesting cafe metaphor, but the site I am watching is www.everyblock.com. It was recently purchased by MSNBC.

    EveryBlock scrapes public databases (crimes, real estate sales, restaurant inspections), and some private databases (restaurant reviews) in a one, three, and eight block circumferance of a requested location in a dozen or so major US cities.

    If my guess is right, MSNBC has much greater plans for EveryBlock. I picture it as one vision of the newspaper of the future.

    1. EveryBlock expands to all of the US and, in time, all of the world (where there is a friendly government that permits it);
    2. MS/Bing scrapes all geo-tagged web informaiton for use in EveryBlock so a reader has access to news and much more than the databases currently delivered;
    3. EveryBlock enables user posting (citizen journalism). So neighbors can post (and comment on) restaurant reviews, hood happenings, school news, etc.

    If MSNBC plays this right, EveryBlock could be the next big thing (a la Facebook, Craigslist, etc.) The engine and concept are that strong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Cody Jackson (profile), 17 Oct 2009 @ 4:51am

    Great idea

    This is a really interesting idea. The newspaper can make use of volunteers to reduce costs, people get a closer look at "making the news", kids may get interested in journalism, and the paper can find out about stories it might not have heard about otherwise.

    Sounds like a win-win for everyone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), 17 Oct 2009 @ 2:55pm

    Third Places

    I've been interested in the concept of "third places" for a long time, and this is an extension of the concept. I think anything that gives people within a community a place to gather and get together is a good thing.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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