Right now the coverage is all about the Angora Fire, of course, and they seem to be aggregating a lot of opinions, blog posts, and Flickr photos about the fire.
The site is a product of the Interactive Environmental Journalism M.A. Program at UNR. In the past I’ve been critical of university-based projects like this, that seem to be done more for a grade than for the community. Most of my skepticism came from seeing the GoSkokie project go awry a couple of years ago. Go Skokie was a community site, a placeblog if you will, that was built by university students as part of a class project for a community outside of Chicago. After the class was over, the students got their grades and moved on, leaving the site barren and abandoned. It seems they had never drummed up interest among community members to keep the site going, so without the support of the students it died a painful death.
But things have gotten better since then. GoSkokie was reborn as SkokieTalk, a community-led effort that was built on the work the university students did. And other university/community collaborations became very successful, like Hartsville Today. So I’m open to the idea of OurTahoe, as long as there’s good community involvement and it’s not just the students carrying the whole site on their shoulders. I mean, I carry Around Carson entirely on my shoulders, but that’s because I’m part of the community I’m covering. And also because I’m nuts.
So OurTahoe looks like a site to watch.