Re: WATPA: On-Line Newspaper

From: Jeanne Betsock Stillman <>
Date: Sat Jul 09 2005 - 11:06:43 EDT

Working on publicity for a non-profit (United Nations Association of the USA, Westchester Chapter) I look for sites where we can post information, both about our organization and about upcoming events, and appreciate the outlet they provide. It's hard to evaluate though what this means to us--it seems that mainly it's exposure--just getting our name out if people happen to click--, rather than, for example, bringing people in to one of our events. We use AmericanTowns, and I really appreciate the service they provide (though it has been difficult to get on to all of the town websites consistently, which we want to do because we are a county-wide organization).

And we usually post to White Plains and Scarsdale sites including Westchester Wire ( , which Sean operates.. The Westchester County Calendar also gives an outlet for event postings, but not for news. WATPA's site is one more where we have a "page."

For a small non-profit with no staff, a volunteer board and limited time, the posting and updating in addition to updating one's own site is time-consuming. I'd be very interested in learning the experience of other non-profits and what they feel they gain from the exposure.

All that said, it would be great to have a regular column on sites where the broad public would see information, rather than on depending on attracting the public to our site.

Jeanne Betsock Stillman
Board member and secretary (and publicity chair) - UNA-USA Westchester Chapter

Strategies for Development, Inc.
"Helping organizations meet their development goals"
166 Edgars Lane
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Sean P. Cover
  Sent: Saturday, July 09, 2005 12:28 AM
  Subject: RE: WATPA: On-Line Newspaper

  The concept is already employed at different levels nationally. For instance, GetLocalNews is owned by a fellow in California who has bought thousands of local domain names across America and is looking to help people set up local news websites. See

  GetLocalNews currently operates, which is a rather typical site of their network (not very well-developed with local content), that is focused on a Florida community named Westchester.

  Of course, the American Towns Network, based in CT is trying to do the same thing in a number of upscale towns in Westchester and Fairfield. See

  They've had mixed success in different communities, depending on who is their primary salesperson and news contact in the community. Some of their town sites are more actively supported than others. They allow non-profits to have free pages on their site and have community calendars where anyone can post events. Their email newsletters are sparsely populated though and there is little actual news in them. One of their ebtter sites is

  Though relatively unknown outside their areas, local community publishing is thriving these days in Westchester. John Bailey has done an excellent job of covering White Plains news with since 2000. There is the fellow running (I think his name is Mike Pollack). He's doing a very good job of coverning that town, with designs on Briarcliff Manor and Croton as well. And there's Hezi Aris, who runs YT seems to be willing to publish anything, regardless of whether it's local or not. YT is definitely on Mayor Amicone's blacklist, as the site has a definite anti-establishment bias.

  At, we must publish 100 or more community-based press releases every month, but we don't offer interactive publishing at present. We offered free blogs last year, but were not really happy with the participation levels and have dropped them since. It seems that people who want to blog have plenty of avenues to do so and a geographic relationship with a reader is not a strong enough bond to impel readers to favor our site over others. For the same reason, online forums would probably not work well at our site either. We may try both again this fall, but I would not expect much success with either.

  Blogs and community publishing are only successful when you have someone with the drive or compulsion to make it work. This is usually the editor or manager of the website, who sees the niche market and seeks to fill it. In general, I have found readers only become involved when they see you as an avenue to push their own private agenda. In my past work with Scarsdale Today, I would get plenty of submissions from people against development of the downtown or against speeding on particular busy street or for a community center, etc. It was never news per se, more advertorial for their point of view.

  I'd say Scoopt, the British online community publication you cite, really won't get many newsworthy submissions at all. It will probably just get news spam from readers pushing their own private agendas. Here in Westchester, I can see a Scoopt-like site getting lots of anti-Indian Point, anti-Tappan Zee Bridge, anti-Phil Amicone submissions and not much else.

  Sean P. Cover

  Scarsdale Technologies: Changing The World One Computer At A Time
  (914) 723-5645

  From: Norm Jacknis []
  Sent: Friday, July 08, 2005 9:16 PM
  Subject: WATPA: On-Line Newspaper

    This -- -- is an interesting British website that encourages people to create their own on-line newspaper. Do you think such a site would work here?





          Britain on Britain is the Scoopt Supplement that allows you to make the news. We're looking for all stories that affect 100 or more British people today.

                  a.. Do you have a story to tell about life in Britain today?
                  b.. Do you know about something that other people should know about?
                  c.. Do you need to blow the whistle?
                If you are looking for a way to speak out, Britain on Britain is for you. This is your chance to be a photojournalist!

                What's in a story?
                The subject can be a local or a national issue. It should be topical and can be hard-hitting. It can be negative or positive. What matters most is that your story is of interest to a wider audience and affects -- or will affect -- the lives of at least 100 people in Britain.

                Some ideas:

                  a.. An act of stunning corporate, local authority or governmental stupidity
                  b.. An act of stunning corporate, local authority or governmental ingenuity!
                  c.. Shocking health and safety standards in the workplace
                  d.. The inside story on a local action campaign
                  e.. Wildlife being destroyed by illicit fly-tipping
                  f.. An on-the-spot report of a scientific or medical breakthrough
                  g.. Lousy (or brilliant) disabled access
                  h.. A Darwin Awards contender caught in the act
                  i.. The impact of the closure of a local factory or village post office
                  j.. A train or tube journey from hell
                  k.. Criminal behaviour going unreported or tolerated
                But in fact just about anything can make a saleable story, so don't be bound by these guidelines. Just think in terms of the stories you read in the newspapers. Does your story demand to be told?

                What to do now
                Capture one or more photos that illustrate your story and write a brief description of the subject matter. If we consider that your story has merit and would interest a publisher, we'll follow it up with you directly. If necessary, we can put a journalist on the case to research the facts and interview the people involved. We will then endeavour to sell the story, with photos, to the press. And of course we'll share the fee with you.*

                We will also publish a selection of members' stories and photos here on the Scoopt website.


                  a.. Join Scoopt if you haven't already done so
                  b.. Log in to the site
                  c.. Click the Upload Photos button
                  d.. Select Britain on Britain from the list of categories
                  e.. And send us your photo(s)
                Then click here to email us your story in around 100 words.

                * NOTE: Normally, Scoopt pays you 50% of the fee when we sell a photo. However, where we incur additional costs such as employing a professional journalist, we'll pay you 50% of the fee after these expenses have been deducted. We'll discuss this with you as we go along. The good news is that we can normally get a significantly higher fee when selling a researched story than when selling a photo alone.


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Received on Sat Jul 9 10:58:53 2005

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