This guest post is written by Minnesota Public Radio's public insight journalist Paul Tosto:
When Minnesota Public Radio News launched the MinnEcon blog two years ago, we wanted to capture the everyday stories of Minnesotans living through the Great Recession. We had good success finding stories via our Public Insight Network. But early on it was clear the old blog format didn’t fit our ambitions.
We wanted to create a networked hub of beat reporting, a site that didn’t just tell readers to leave a comment at the bottom of a post but invited them to ask and answer questions, easily share anything that interested them about the economy and create or jump in to discussions. We started working with NewsCloud last fall to build that site using its open source platform.
The result: A remade MinnEcon that integrates social media, public insight and MPR News reporting -- from radio stories to news shows to all the stuff we do already online.
The site went up officially a couple of weeks ago. Soon, we'll reach out to the thousands of Minnesotas in the MPR News network who’ve responded in the past to our queries about the economy and connect them to the site.
With MinnEcon, we're building something with the NewsCloud open source platform that could become a standard beat reporting tool: A flexible app that's easy to set up and configure to specific beats, easy to run and connected to Facebook, the world's largest social network.
It can easily be maintained by a beat reporter and editor. That's one of the real beauties of this project. There’s enormous potential to reproduce the model for any beat and any reporter, no matter the size of the news organization.