Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Introducing the Daily Freeman's Ben Franklin Project

Wait. What?

What is the Ben Franklin Project, you say, before noticing that you're speaking to yourself and are freaking out all the people around you?

It’s an opportunity for the Daily Freeman to rethink the entire process of putting out our daily online and print editions.

No, really. We're actually doing this. And we are opening our doors. Virtually, of course, so stay away from my cubicle.*

We are going to use free, open-source tools and social media - like the Twitters or whatever it's called - to empower, involve and engage you more than ever before.

Do you have a story idea? Tell us about it. Do you think the Life Editor needs a haircut? Go away or I shall taunt you a second time!

The goal of the Ben Franklin Project is to enable readers to participate in how our print and online editions come together. So starting now, we want you to let us know how to better serve you, with great ideas like, "Don't let the Life Editor announce the Ben Franklin Project!"

Here are but some of the ideas we're working on:

* We are going to publish a calendar of events using only your Facebook invitations. So "Like" the Daily Freeman and Preview (and me!) and invite us!

* We are going to find out the best camping spots in the mid-Hudson Valley. How? You're going to tell us. And once we have enough candidates, you'll vote on your favorites. I will then send our reporters with a broken flashlight, wearing high heels and wrapped with meat - at midnight - to check out the sites (we're still working on the reporting details, so that might change).

* We also want you to share with us your camping pictures via Flickr. And you'll get to vote on them.

* I'm personally compiling your craziest camping stories for an upcoming - and extra -column to be published on July 4, the day we're declaring our independence from the old newsroom models of thinking and publishing (I'm told there's another independence something that day, but who knows?).

* We're going to do some live chats with our featured bloggers, and want you to be part of it by bringing your questions and comments, live.

* And yes, why not? I might even cut my hair. I'll put it up for vote. And you'll decide. I then I'll blame a hanging chad or something.

What else? You tell me.

And what about the News and Sports departments? Just tell them!

Because those people don't listen to me.

* Actually, our doors are open. So you can actually pay me a visit.