whistlestop caboose

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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

Tulips 2006 for Gran ellengwallace's Tulips 2006 for Gran photoset

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

GenevaLunch ready to be born

[small formatting changes made, March 22]

Blogs, blooks and other uneasy labels

I've spent much of my time in the past six weeks discussing GenevaLunch with a large number of people. If you haven't heard of it yet, that's because the mountains that feed the stream are just starting to thaw. You will soon see a trickle flowing, and more as we gather speed.

Birth of a newsflow

http://www.genevalunch.com/ is an English language “newsflow” for the greater Lake Geneva area in Switzerland. This is its formal introduction to the world, and I've waited until today because of an absurd and thoroughly modern dilemma. It needed not just a name, but a label. "Newsflow." This is it. Read all about it – here, for now, as the URL will tell you only that the site is “parked” while we prepare it.

The idea for GenevaLunch started with Bernard Rappaz, responsible for new media at TSR, French language television in Switzerland. We were discussing the lack of a media outlet in English that really pulls all the community together. He suggested an online community newspaper, and pointed to an interesting example in a relatively isolated valley in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. For me, the emphasis was on the word community.

Journalist Bill Dowell, who has worked for a number of major media groups including NBC, ABC and Time, asked why it wasn't a magazine. He was until recently the editor of Global Beat, an online resource on international security affairs for journalists and decision makers. "What do you see as the difference?" he asked, puzzled. After all, GenevaLunch will have interviews and feature articles.

Timing, I said. To me a magazine is something that appears weekly or monthly - as a journalist, I've been partial to the way magazines give you breathing space. A daily newspaper's rhythm is traditionally faster, more frequent. GenevaLunch is closer to the speed of radio.

I contacted the editors of The Morning News, whose masthead proclaims “an online magazine published daily” in New York, for New Yorkers. Is this a contradiction I asked? They replied that they like “magazine” for a label because it gives them scope to gather together and publish a variety, from news items and headlines to longer features. And they do it every day. By the way, they added, please let them know if we come up with a better label. The same comment is heard about blogs and blog spinoffs called blooks.

GenevaLunch is not a daily, or even an hourly. It is a frequently, but no one is happy with that label.

When is a site not a site, a radio station, a TV station or a newspaper?

So what, then, would make it different from a newspaper or radio station's online web site? asked Lucy Walker, director of WRG-FM radio, who thinks GenevaLunch is an interesting proposition. WRG is the BBC’s partner in Geneva, and an English language station with growing popularity. It has a web site. There are many other good web sites about the city and about Switzerland, in English. They all reach out to part of this community.

Here is what GenevaLunch is and does. It is for the English-speaking community that has as its hub Lake Geneva and the city of Geneva - but this community fans out as far as the community that gets together at GenevaLunch. It will, in other words, define itself. GenevaLunch creates an online outlet for (or publishes, if you prefer) a steady stream of news, information, exchanges and ideas for the community. It lets all this news flow continuously.

A blog with journalism and citizen reporting

It uses blogging as its technology. It uses experienced journalists and citizen reporters.

Here is what it isn’t: online, not this week, but very soon.


Blogger Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Hi Ellen,

You are welcome about the flagging thing and thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. The GenevaLunch project sounds very interesting.

I was truly impressed and inspired by your photographs and added your page to my favorites so I can check in on occassion. I don't know why but one of my favorites on the one slide show I watched was the still lifes of the coffee cups.

I didn't want to start a Yahoo account to comment at Flicker. My ISP is changing on the 1st and I don't need any more new accounts to change right now so I am back here.

Glad I bumped into you.


9:22 AM  
Blogger whistlestop caboose said...

Christopher, glad you visited and enjoyed it! We do all love our worktime tea and coffee, I think :)

11:11 AM  

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