The Wired City
Reimagining Journalism and Civic Life in the Post-Newspaper Age
A vivid, on-the-ground account of the changing face of contemporary journalism
In The Wired City, Dan Kennedy tells the story of the New Haven Independent, a nonprofit community website in Connecticut that is at the leading edge of reinventing local journalism.In The Wired City, Dan Kennedy tells the story of the New Haven Independent, a nonprofit community website in Connecticut that is at the leading edge of reinventing local journalism.In The Wired City, Dan Kennedy tells the story of the New Haven Independent, a nonprofit community website in Connecticut that is at the leading edge of reinventing local journalism. Through close attention to city government, schools, and neighborhoods, and through an ongoing conversation with its readers, the Independent’s small staff of journalists has created a promising model of how to provide members of the public with the information they need in a self-governing society.
Although the Independent is the principal subject of The Wired City, Kennedy examines a number of other online news projects as well, including nonprofit organizations such as Voice of San Diego and the Connecticut Mirror and for-profit ventures such as the Batavian, Baristanet, and CT News Junkie. Where legacy media such as major city newspapers are cutting back on coverage, entrepreneurs are now moving in to fill at least some of the vacuum.
The Wired City includes the perspectives of journalists, activists, and civic leaders who are actively re-envisioning how journalism can be meaningful in a hyperconnected age of abundant news sources. Kennedy provides deeper context by analyzing the decline of the newspaper industry in recent years and, in the case of those sites choosing such a path, the uneasy relationship between nonprofit status and the First Amendment.
At a time of pessimism over the future of journalism, The Wired City offers hope. What Kennedy documents is not the death of journalism but rather the uncertain and sometimes painful early stages of rebirth.
"This is the first effort that I’m aware of anywhere to do a book-length profile of an emerging genre—the local online news community. . . . Kennedy does a wonderful job of illustrating this story through people, incidents, anecdotes, and then rolling back into the theory and policy implications. The Wired City is important to participatory democracy and community."—Bill Densmore, director, The Media Giraffe Project
"This book is for anyone who cares about the future of timely, useful community information, and how it helps citizens fulfill their most essential role: participation."—Dan Gillmor, author of Mediactive and We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People
"A thoughtful and nuanced book, The Wired City is a standout in chronicling one of the best stories I’ve read lately of journalists ‘comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.’"—Callie Crossley, WGBH radio and TV host, and producer of the documentary series Eyes on the Prize
"Kennedy’s book is unlike any you will read on the business model crisis in journalism. For leverage he goes to one place where lower cost, born-on-the-net, nonprofit public service journalism is working: the New Haven Independent. In digging into that case, The Wired City frames the big picture beautifully: Journalism as a practice will go on. But it takes will."— Jay Rosen, blogger at PressThink and author of What Are Journalists For?