Housenet.com.au, a neighbourhood social networking site, has launched a facebook-style platform where neighbours can write community news online.
“Neighbour News Network is the place to write about where you live,” said Housenet.com.au CEO Darren Moffatt.
“People get passionate about what happens in their neighbourhood. Residents want to have a say on community issues, but often struggle to be heard because it can be difficult to reach other residents.
“Neighbour News Network is the answer. It’s the missing link between traditional local media and the humble neighbourhood letter-box drop.”
According to Moffatt, the platform is easy to use and is already proving popular with residents, bloggers, and activists.
“People are using it to write about traffic conditions, developments, and council services. It gives residents a virtual ‘soap-box’ to express views on local issues that affect them and their neighbours,” he said.
Members can publish an article as a blog, which is then seen by subscribers to their suburb. They can even syndicate the content to members in surrounding suburbs, and it also appears on search engines for further reach online.
“It’s free to join and after a simple sign up process, you can be publishing your news online in as little as five minutes. Neighbours can then help shape stories with comments in real-time which makes local news more exciting, interesting and interactive,” Moffatt said.
Neighbour News Network has already attracted a community of volunteer editors across Australia, and there are further mechanisms for reporting errant users and inappropriate content.
“Traditional local journalism performs an important community function, and there’ll always be a place for it. But this is something different again. In fact, we see the Neighbour News Network as a useful tool for journalists to discover stories and build connections with the local community.
“We encourage anyone who are concerned about local issues in their own neighbourhood to give it a go,” Moffatt said.