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Archive for August, 2009

Texas Watchdog

Posted by jessdrkn on August 31, 2009

Location: Houston (coverage is statewide)  texaswatchdog

Focus: watchdog, investigative reports in Texas; commitment to state and local government muckraking 

Started: August 2008

Employees/Writers: Non-profit founded by Trent Siebert, a former reporter at the Nashville Tennessean.  Reporters, board of directors.

Funding: start-up monies from the Sam Adams Alliance, a libertarian non-profit based in Chicago; other revenue comes from Texas Watchdog’s blogger/citizen-journalist training program; there is a donation solicitation on the site  


[from Who We Are page] Texas Watchdog is a news Web site and training center that scrutinizes the actions of government agencies, bureaucracies and politicians in Texas. It is an independent, nonpartisan entity founded on the belief that our American democracy depends on transparency in government.

Texas Watchdog serves as a government watchdog and training center where reporters, bloggers and activists of any stripe learn how to uncover waste, fraud and corruption in state and local governments. This combination of news outlet and training facility creates a two-tiered approach to holding governments and officials accountable for their actions.

Sample stories: “Did [U.S. Senator] Kay Bailey Hutchison cross an ethical line by supporting a rail line that is a payday for her husband?”; “Gaps in Senator Royce West’s reporting of fees from groups with lobbyists”; “La Porte councilman traveled, other council members stayed home”; “Houston Airport System: Releasing salary list would make airports vulnerable to terrorists”

Around the Web about Texas Watchdog: “A New Watchdog for Texas” AJR story from February/March 2009 issue; and from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism page on new news business models, July 17, 2009 post: “News Innovators on the Frontline: Texas Watchdog

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Rocky Mountain Independent

Posted by jessdrkn on August 31, 2009

Location: Denver  rockymtnindependent

Focus: city and regional news; staff-generated stories/original content; staff journals; traditional newspaper features, such as sports,  arts, business; multi-media components

Started: July 2009 [UPDATE 10/04/09: ORIGINAL CONTENT ENDED OCTOBER 2009, SUBSCRIBERS REIMBURSED FEES, see Westword story "Steve Foster on the death of the Rocky Mountain Independent"]

Staff/Writers:  Former Rocky Mountain News daily newspaper staff started this site after the newspaper closed in February 2009; 14 names listed on staff page, mostly veteran newspeople from RMN.  Rocky Mountain Independent editor and co-founder Cindy House also manages sister site, a site dedicated to researching the future of news in the wake of one of Denver’s major metro newspapers folding.  Note, there is another independent start-up site in Denver, in response to RMN closure, see

 Funding: advertising, subscription service ($4 month, $24 year)


[From open letter to readers when site launched. Titled "An Independent's Day"] In so many ways, this is the worst time to do what we’re doing.

We admit it. Looking around, we see layoffs, closings and mass confusion in the news industry. No one has an answer to the future of journalism. Many have theories or snippets of ideas, and some have encouraging small-scale success, but no one has found the solution to losing a major metropolitan newspaper.

Which is why in so many more ways, this is the best time to do what we’re doing.

News coverage is shrinking at the very moment when the hunger for news is greater than ever. Technology lets us seek out the news we want in the way that we want it, but as newspapers close, contract and cut back, the focus of the journalism gets narrower and narrower. Stories are being left untold.

…The great myth of media today is that a single newspaper — should it survive — can cover a city as large and vibrant as Denver. Some of us came here a couple years ago, some of us arrived a decade ago, and some of us were here before the Broncos. But no one finds Denver to be the same now as it was when we arrived. It is changing every day, and the stories it produces are endless. No single news organization can cover them all, nor should it try.

Sample stories: From staff, “Denver’s trash trucks are auction treasures”; “Rocky-Post newspaper partnership officially ends, six months after Rocky closed”; “$38 million in Clunkers cash for Colorado”; “Denver Broncos fans offer forecast for season” a multi-media package.   

Update story on start-up:

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INDenver Times

Posted by jessdrkn on August 31, 2009

Location: Denver indenvertimes

Focus: metro, community, state, and national news site; original content, aggregated news; lots of linked content to contributor blogs; “traditional newspaper” sections, e.g.: News, Opinion, Business, Sports, A&E, etc.

Started: March 2009 (one month after Rocky Mountain News daily metro newspaper closed). According to About Us page, InDenverTimes was started by 30 former RMN journalists and three Denver entrepreneurs. “The group’s goal was to sign up 50,000 subscribers before the 150th birthday of the Rocky on April 23, 2009. We didn’t reach that goal, but we’re grateful that more than 3,000 people pledged their support.” 5 management staff listings; 19 listed contributors, 8 “INsighters”; and 10 Partner Site links.

Funding: advertising, subscriptions


[from mission statement] INDenverTimes provides news, insight, perspective and information for Denver and Colorado. We publish new writers and introduce new voices to the Colorado conversation, and we’re equally fired up to give established journalists an outlet. You don’t have to have a journalism degree to tell a story, but you must have a commitment to accuracy, fairness and quality. We are part of the new media. We strive for balanced coverage and embrace all points of view. We want to tell the stories others don’t and open avenues to coverage of Colorado not otherwise easily available.

Sample stories: “Ritzy Landmark project in Greenwood Village files for bankruptcy”; “Higher ed chief Skaggs to step down over disagreement with Ritter” a report from Education News Colorado, a non-profit news source; “Denver Stiffs: Nuggets J.R. Smith suspended seven games by NBA” a story linked to sports blog; “‘Humpday’: Will Ben and Andrew make a porno movie?” a story linked to former RMN film critic Bob Denerstein’s film blog,

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Grafton Times

Posted by jessdrkn on August 1, 2009

Location: Grafton, Mass.  graftontimes

Focus: “The lifeline of Grafton,” community news, local business

Started: (updated Web site unveiled Aug. 1, 2009)

Employees: 4 — publisher Jack Schofield, editor Jennifer Lord Paluzzi, and an advertising manager and sports/general assignment writer; group also runs sister community news site

Funding: local business advertising, “the backbone of” 


[from July 31, 2009 publisher note] Many have said we “have brought the community of Grafton together” and we “have built a news source that is professional and unbiased”. We are proud to be the most loved news source in Grafton, just as much as we are proud to deliver a great resource for local small businesses and consumers.

Sample stories: “Modular classrooms set to be ready for new year”; “Grafton Inn seeks liquor license — and missing reservation book”; “McInerny considers late night, early close for town offices”; “Grafton Lions win AAA Little League Championship”

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