Ryan Jerz in the comments the other day slipped in a plug for his new Lake Tahoe placeblog, OurTahoe.org. I’d heard he was working on this project, but I never had a URL for it until now.

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.

One comment

  1. Scott,

    Thanks for talking about us. The site is not mine, but a product of the ongoing masters program at the Reynolds School. My group was the first to be a part of it and we started the site, but building it took a long time so it didn’t get up and running until April. I am working on it through the Summer with Kevin Reynen, who is a full-timer at the school, to get it ready for the next group, which will start publishing right away when school begins. I own’t officially be a part of the site once that happens, but I will be keeping my eye on it. I sincerely hope and think that it will become what you hope for in this post. The unfortunate circumstance of the fire has propelled the site into the minds of a lot more people than we had before. Hopefully, the work we had done in the past and the work that will be done going forward will keep the site vibrant through the down times like Summer and the community will embrace it as their own. That was always our intention–we just work here.

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