Jennifer Paluzzi and CentralMassNews.com

February 10, 2010

Belated as this may be, we were lucky enough to have Jennifer Lord Paluzzi ofCentralMassNews.com stop by last Wednesday and give a presentation on the burgeoning network of community-based news websites she’s been working on for us.

After getting laid off in October of 2008 from the MetroWest Daily News, Paluzzi started up thedailygrafton.com, which was itself an expansion of her earlier greater Grafton blog.

One of the inspirations for starting it up, she said, was because Grafton’s official town paper was one of those “funny newspapers from the town I went on vacation to,” and she thought the people of Grafton deserved better.

She got together with Jack Schoefield and turned her blog into the internet equivalent of a real, functional, daily newspaper.

Their venture soon expanded to other towns, like Millbury and Northbridge, and now they’ve got nine total, providing some of the most comprehensive local news in Central Massachusetts, if not the most comprehensive.

They’ve got videos, and photos, and real-time news that people who care about the goings-on of these towns can find instantly. It’s a pretty remarkable network for community-based journalism, really, and it’s the kind of network that I think will serve a lot of local communities on the internet in the future.

Said Paluzzi:

When I look at it I say ‘it’s just a small town why is it a big deal?’ But people in a small town want to know just as much about what goes on in their town as they do about Congress. This is what really affects people.

And she’s right, it really is what affects people. It’s what they care about on the most direct basis. She pointed out the difficulties in getting someone to understand what it means to be a journalist from a site like CentralMassNews.com, how they don’t really get the idea of a website with newspaper-like credibility.

But I think down the road, you’ll find that won’t be the case. And I think you’ll find a network like CentralMassNews.com will be more trusted than dinky hometown newspapers ever were.

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