So, it’s a few weeks ago, and I’m at WVU’s Media Innovation Center in Morgantown.
Turns out Weelunk was launched a couple of years ago by a group of locals who felt there was a large hole in the local media landscape for better coverage of good people doing good things in Wheeling.
Also turns out that there were a few other cities around West Virginia that felt the same way.
Remember, we’re in Morgantown at the time, sitting in what is basically the epicenter of new media innovation in West Virginia.
Wheeling, Martinsburg, Elkins and Huntington. I look over the crowd. There’s this pregnant pause, and I feel like I can almost see the lightbulbs going off, one at a time, spreading through the room.
Then someone finally says it. “What about Morgantown?”
Yes, what about Morgantown indeed?
It was an idea that immediately gathered steam, and in the days following New Story a core group of folks were already meeting to discuss how to take that idea to the next level.
Of all cities in West Virginia, Morgantown, where I live, is perhaps the most ripe for a community-driven news site in the Weelunk mould.
There are certainly some gaps in the market of local news coverage, particularly an outlet that makes good use of online and mobile technology.
And the fact that the city is swarming with journalism and business students and recent grads certainly doesn’t hurt, when the time comes to build a staff of writers, photographers, marketers and web designers.
But most importantly Morgantown has a strong and vibrant local business community, that might be wiling to invest in expanded news coverage of what’s really happening in their city that sparks debate, celebrates successes, holds decision makers accountable and keeps residents informed and engaged.
The Hub is a firm believer in the adage that information is power, and we see community-driven news sites like Weelunk and its peers as a crucial part of successful community development.
So we are helping the creators of Weelunk pull together a team of locals that are interested in doing something similar here in Morgantown.
Already we’ve got quite a crew of people that have put their hand up to be involved – smart, professional, savvy locals that believe there are important day-to-day stories going down in Morgantown that aren’t being told.
Are you one of them? Then get involved.
Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure you get an invite to the next meeting.