The fifteen "InsideSoCal" staff blogs fed mostly out of the newsroom in Woodland Hills — and the absorption of LA.com — were just the beginning for the Daily News' online ambitions. Mack Reed at LA Voice takes the yet-to-launch ValleyNews.com website for test drive and pronounces it promising, from a techie and citizen journalism perspective.
Valley News has been the DN's banner for local zone sections written by community contributors and distributed in parts of the Valley. The new site looks to be an expanded dotcom version. Visitors who register and cough up personal information will be able to post community info, calendar items and blog posts. It looks like nothing will be verified or moderated, so good luck with that—crapshoot whether it ultimately reflects the broad community or is hijacked by readers with causes to promote and time (or money) to spare. There is an editor: Annie Hundley, who moved from Denver where she worked on the site's parent, YourHub.com. That's a nationally syndicated operation out of the Rocky Mountain News that looks to be coming to all of Dean Singleton's Southern California papers as well as the Ventura County Star. It has been a business success so far in Denver with this pitch to users, which is also being used here:
Your trip. Your baby. Your day. Your pet. Whatever story you want to share, YourHub.com is your place to do it.
The ValleyNews.com team includes a smattering of community reporters across the Valley and Daily News newsroom staffer Jason Kandel. There's historical precedent for the name, of course. For decades before changing to the Daily News of Los Angeles, the paper founded along with the town of Van Nuys circa 1911 was known as the Valley News & Green Sheet (a reference to the green paper that some of the news was printed on.) L.A. City Nerd also has a short take on the new site.
* Little update: (1:45 pm) I spoke with Hundley, the editor. She explained that visitors will have to use their real names to post and that addresses and phone numbers will be verified. (Mack Reed's registration was deleted this morning for using fake info, she said.) The reason is that community news and info posted will be printed in the paper "Valley News" sections under bylines, so the DN wants everyone to stand behind what they write. The number of sections will be expanded from four to seven.
Also, she says that while anything posted by approved users will go up on back pages of the site unfiltered, items will be selected by editors before they are moved to the main community "hub pages" where they expect most readers to visit. Public launch is set for Aug. 21.