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Michelle Ferrier

MICHELLE FERRIER Dr. Michelle Ferrier is an associate professor in the iMedia graduate program at Elon University in North Carolina. She is interested in the intersection of community advocacy, education and journalism.

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Project Blog: Locally Grown News

This project sets out to create a complete infrastructure, to be franchised, for those who want to launch hyperlocal news sites. Services will include a Web platform, software development, market analysis, some content, and legal and marketing assistance. Such an infrastructure, says former editor Michelle Ferrier, will permit citizen journalists and community members to "focus on what they are most passionate about - building their community conversation through good local information and networking."

Deep into development on site/mobile app

Friday, March 19, 2010

I’m deep into development of LocallyGrownNews after a quarter of brass tacks business development and planning. With partnership agreements in place with an online community platform and one in progress for a mobile application developer (no, they are not the same), I’ve been trading logo designs, wireframes and ideas for the mobile app with my virtual team(s).

February has also been a month of fundraising. While I’m licensing the online community platform, the mobile app is a completely new product to help bring an additional revenue stream to the business model. Development time = money. So I’ve written two additional grants - one with a local foundation call for projects and another with a national foundation source. I’ve also been working with the mobile app team to identify community grant sources as well as angel and venture capital funds to develop version 1 and version 2.

Versions 1 and 2? What happened to beta? I’ll be beta testing the online community in the second quarter of 2010, but I’m building out a business model with some future development in place. In order to compete in any way with the free (or virtually free) platforms like WordPress, I recognized that we have to bring some value-added to the table. That includes planning for new technologies, fresh content and always looking for partnerships to leverage smart people and products.

I’ve also been immersing myself in the markets where I’ll be beta testing the concept. I decided to launch the effort closer to home where I can develop the contacts and content myself (the free labor helps with the budget!). I’m also cultivating some interested contacts in other locales who are just as interested in food and hyperlocal communities.

Spring is here and I’m eager to break out of this winter hibernation. With our anticipated launch on the horizon, I’m preparing simple promotional materials for a soft launch, storing up evergreen content and continuing to share the philosophy of connecting communities through food.

   • Posted by Michelle Ferrier on 03/19 at 11:13 AM

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