I am pleased to announce today that Qcitymetro.com has joined an online
partnership with the Charlotte Observer and four other local Web sites.

project is funded with a grant from J-Lab: The Institute for
Interactive Journalism, which promotes the use of digital technologies
for delivering news and information. The Observer and its five partners
will share content and explore ways to cover stories together.

The group also includes:

– founded by former Observer journalist David Boraks to report stories
important to Davidson and nearby communities.

The Scoop Network –
ballantynescoop.com, monroescoop.com, indiantrailscoop.com and
westernunioncountyscoop.com – run by longtime Union County resident
Steve Sherron and marketing expert Caroline Adams of Ballantyne.

– started by Tega Cay, S.C., resident and graphic designer Ben Ullman
to keep his neighbors abreast of civic developments.

The Villa
Heights Voice – newsletter of the Villa Heights Community Organization
in east Charlotte. The Observer will help the group’s staff take its
newsletter to the Web and expand its reach.

So, what does this mean for Qcity readers?
means that some of the stories and photos we produce will get broader
circulation. In other words, expect to see our content in the Observer
as well as on the above mentioned Web sites.

It also means that
you will see stories and photos on Qcitymetro.com that were produced by other
members of the group, but always selected with our readers in mind.

Why is this important?
no secret that the news industry is evolving. Hyper-local
Web sites like Qcitymetro are springing up everywhere. Most are
privately owned and, sadly, underfunded. The J-Lab grant is meant to
explore ways that these sites might partner with a dominant news
organization, such as the Observer, to better serve readers and
communities. By joining together, we hope that all involved will grow

How long will this partnership last?
The J-Lab
grant covers a year. During that time, the partners also will explore
potential for new revenue streams. After the year is up… well, who

The Observer’s Web site, charlotteobserver.com, will
include links to the partner sites, and Qcitymetro.com, in return, will
link to other members in the group.

The J-Lab grant is funded by
the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Observer was one of
five newspapers to receive the grant. Others include the Seattle Times, Miami
Herald and Asheville Citizen-Times.

These are exciting times for Qcitymetro, so wish us luck. But more important, let us know what you think as the year progresses.

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