The Small Town’s Own Little New Media Experiment

The Register Citizen of Torrington, Conn., is a small-town newspaper trying to reinvent itself in the digital world:

At the new offices of The Register Citizen in this faded old mill town, there’s a sign out front welcoming residents to come in for coffee and muffins at the Newsroom Café — sort of Starbucks meets “Lou Grant.” Mimeographed fliers reading “Public Welcome!” invite people to walk in and participate in the 4 p.m. story conference. Residents are free to stroll through the newsroom as reporters peck out stories.

The publication, now housed in a renovated factory space, is now aimed at letting “the public see The Register Citizen as its space.” Hence the cafe, public space for bloggers and courses on blogging and journalism that will teach residents how to write and link to the site. The notion of an open-doors publication wouldn’t work everywhere — I’m obviously thinking of major metropolitan cities, if only owing to space and, let’s be honest, can you imagine this working in Manhattan? — but for small towns who need their news, this is an excellent way to deliver it. [NYT]

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