The inewsource “virtual space” idea started with a simple goal: get more eyeballs on inewsource content. But as we started to play around with a strategy, the goal became much more ambitious.

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I’ve long believed that as traditional media has shrunk, people seeking information valuable to their lives have thronged to the niches – whether it’s a subject area or a geography – to find what they need. In our case, we’re talking about community news providers serving particular areas: neighborhoods, cities, housing developments, the places people live, work and go to school. This includes the range from traditional community newspapers to online community natives.

Why not team up with the micro local publishers to get our work out there?

It was a good, basic idea, but as we thought about how to approach the community news outlets, we realized it made even more sense to build a network that encouraged conversation in, out and across. In other words, we would create a “virtual space” — using social media and the back-end of the inewsource website — for local publishers to access, discuss, promote and share content…

Read the rest of this story on the PBS MediaShift Idea Labs website

Lorie Hearn is the chief executive officer and editor of inewsource. She is a lifelong news-aholic who started her reporting career writing her Girl Scout newsletter at age 12. High school and college were filled with school newspaper work, and after graduation, she worked as a reporter for newspapers...