, a unique user-managed (citizens provided articles and digital content) media source now in beta testing will begin paying content providers in mid July.

July 01, 2005 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
According to Editorial Director Emily Main, "NashvillesNews furthers the form pioneered by and which have set high standards while enjoying high readership and critical acclaim.

"While we take submissions from anyone covering any subject, the categories and organization of the site are set up to ensure that 50 percent of the front page content is directly related to Nashville or what is considered 'local' content."

Although the concept of self publishing on the web is not new, the capabilities for community control and management has only recently been made cost effective. Main explains, "We're using the latest version of Drupal, the same application behind DeanSpace, because of its advanced standards-based handling of taxonomy and flexible, extensible modules. What that actually means for non-techies is that any user can create, edit, and publish content relevant to their lives and immediate surroundings without the need to purchase web-authoring software or pay for his or her own domain. Users simply need a web browser and a little journalistic instinct."

Despite its advanced technology, the basic principal behind the site is very traditional. NashvillesNews pays citizen reporters for submitting high quality, and most importantly, totally original content. The site's twist, however, is the method by which content is presented to other readers. The totally original user-created content is put into a submissions queue that can be accessed by any registered user. Users may vote on any or all original submissions, and the votes are tabulated according to a formula published on the site. The users thus choose what is promoted to the front page. Articles and submissions with the most votes lead on the front page. Every user is allowed to vote once vote on each individual submission, and each week the votes are counted and the winners paid a reasonable sum. As the user base expands, the payment amounts will grow. Payments are designed to reward original reader-submitted news and lifestyle features, which can range from coverage of public meetings to restaurant and movie reviews. The site also allows for submissions of photography, music, and video clips. Main says, "The aim for is to be a reader-created, -managed, and -edited multimedia newspaper.”

In addition to reader-created content, the site's editorial content is produced by paid editorial staff who write unbiased, journalistic articles equalling the high standards set by major print media sources.

The remaining portion of editorial content is made up of user-submitted articles from local and national web sites. "In the same way traditional print media use wire services, NashvillesNews treats the Internet as its wire service, from which readers can pick and choose the articles they feel are most relevant to their own lives." Users submitting news articles are paid a nominal fee for these submissions as they are not considered original content and, as such, not subject to user voting.

NashvillesNews' editorial staff moderates the submission process to ensure fairness in reporting and to prevent libelous or unsuitable content from reaching the submissions queue. In terms of actual content editing, editors merely provide a copy editor's eye, making wording suggestions to improve clarity and changes in spelling and grammar.

Nashville has an international reputation for its music and cultural heritage, and NashvillesNews intends to capitalize on this “brand awareness” by promoting the city using the voices of the city. But of utmost importance, the site serves as a much-needed marketplace of ideas for the citizens of Nashville and anywhere else.