Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Welcome home, pilgrim

When Kathleen McCoy ventured north from California sunshine to the rocky shores of Alaska's Bering Sea 20-some years ago, she was clearly pioneering. At the Nome Nugget and later the Anchorage Daily News, she brought elegant writing and tender editing skills that helped us create a splendid features section and – by the way – win a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Now she's covering girls' flag football.

Well, not exactly. What's she really doing is pioneering once again, this time at the edges of cyberspace, not Norton Sound. Freshly returned from her Knight Fellowship at Stanford, she's AME for Interactivity at the ADN. So far, all the evidence is that the pathfinder hasn't lost a step.

Her recent posts at Hello From Kathleen are all worth reading. Here's a taste of one of the latest:

Why am I doing it? Because I believe that community news organizations like the one I work for will soon (now, even) include a blend of us and them. Them is the people who live and work in the communities we report on. Us is, well, the fewer and fewer of us left in American print newsrooms. We need them to build connection in our pages, the glue of community. They need us to hold powerful people's feet to the fire: government officials, school administrators, business people. We work for the readers. So if they can contribute some of the content that binds a community - names, faces, achievements, good work - then the newspaper's reporters can focus on their role, getting at the hard and complicated truth, facts people need to know.

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