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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.

Visit Locally Grown News.com

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 MytopiaCafe.com 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."

Soft launch mode: Talk it up, sign folks up
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Monday, April 19, 2010

I’m going into soft launch mode with LocallyGrown News this month. By rolling out the beta version of the hyperlocal online community through private invites to selected users, I can get feedback on any design, content, architecture or function elements of the site…and still have time for adjustments!

My goal is to use local Earth Day events to distribute information on the project to key community people and get them interested. I’ve already started conversations with city officials, photographers, content providers and others generating some buzz about the site.

I’ve designed a simple 4 x 6 postcard that I’ll distribute to vendors/volunteers at the local Earth Day events. I’ll also be able to gather my own intelligence about who is doing what around my core content and gauge reactions on the spot.

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Here’s the front of the postcard I’ll distribute for my private invite.

My goals are simple:
1. Use this ready-made event to gather intelligence. I’m much more effective by being a participant rather than purchasing a booth at this stage. I can move quickly through the fair and get information.
2. Find out who has information to share. Are master gardeners using email to distribute information? Is the city having difficulty communicating on ordinance changes for urban gardens? These pain points make LocallyGrownNews a powerful solution for their problem.
3. Look for stories. Everyone has a story. So I’m taking my camera and getting lots of them in one place. Some I’ll follow up on later, with pictures at the farm/store/market. But I can get a lot of information in one place.
4. Recruit passionate users.
The goal is to build an email list of interested users, content providers, passionate participants and others for the site.

Earth Day is April 22. Three days. Gotta go.

   • Posted by Michelle Ferrier on 04/19 at 11:00 AM
 

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