A letter to Georgia's editors, publishers, general managers and news directors|
Georgia Online News Service
Last week, the Georgia Online News Service sent you our first batch of stories, and you were probably wondering: Exactly what is the Georgia Online News Service?
We're a collaborative of experienced, award-winning journalists who are trying help re-define 21st Century newspapering. No one needs to remind you of our industry's ailments: You're being asked to do more with less, to thrive and survive in an era where all the rules have changed. And we think we have an idea that will help.
GONSO (yes, we love the Hunter S. Thompson reference) will cover our state's news through the eyes of reporters and editors who have spent most of their careers providing in-depth coverage of Georgia. That's our foundation, and it's a strong one.
We're going to couple that local expertise with a partnership with Reuters and other services for international and national news, business and sports (you'll hear more about that later). Even better, we will be in the position to accept periodic "assignments" from papers that belong to our syndicate, to produce stories specific to their readership.
We are starting modestly, but ambitiously. We know you will be hungry for legislative news and that is going to be our initial focus. And we'll do what most of you can't afford to do any longer: spring our reporters to spend a week focusing on one story.
GONSO is intended as a haven for great journalism. GONSO's strength is in its journalists – well-known, well-respected journalists – men and women who were compelled to be their town's criers, writers who want to make a difference and want to extract the truth, people who are natural storytellers. GONSO won't provide "he said, she said" stories. Instead, GONSO will offer stories that aspire to find the higher truth.
Beginning today, you'll receive GONSO's "Green Sheet" email on a daily basis during the week. For the first two weeks, we will send you in-depth stories that frame the issues facing lawmakers: the budget crisis, transportation, water, education, health, property taxes. We'll also deliver the story behind the story, the political positioning and posturing in anticipation of the 2010 elections.
We will follow those issues throughout the session. And please alert your sports and features editors; we'll also offer sports features and columns, along with arts and entertainment articles.
Initially, there will be two-to-three stories each day, plus one-to-two columns by such varied voices as Tom Baxter, Lyle Harris, Hollis Gillespie, Ralph Reed and John Sugg. But our offerings will grow as GONSO grows.
You are free to use it as you wish; just give us credit. You can use it in print, you can publish it on the web. The issue stories will be written so they have shelf life, and can be published as the legislature begins to tackle each one.
That is what we are. GONSO is here to help you, to create a partnership. I very much seek your feedback. How can we best help you? Are there stories you want us to pay particular attention to? How can we make GONSO even better?