New West: Web site launches, citizen journalism to follow

Delight might be the best word to describe my feelings on clicking into New West, the just launched regional web site operated by former Industry Standard publisher Jonathan Weber. Positioned as the voice for the West (meaning Missoula, Boulder, Salt Lake and other parts West, as opposed to California, Oregon and Washington, I guess), this site has the slicks of a top quality regional magazine (think the old Texas Monthly) but is built on a blog platform (with what looks like wonderously detailed meta-tags and super clean CSS, not that I know, really.)
Visitors can sign up to become citizen journalists, and a magazine is promised in 2006 (nothing like well-thought out plans for world domination.)
The site looks well architected, with areas for policy as well as lifestyle–and an animal section(hope Pam Houston is there with her dog.)
And the citizen journalism intro is no slouch:
Citizen Journalism is an integral part of what we’re trying to do here at New West. The idea stems from our philosophy that an educated, engaged citizenship will be instrumental in this evolution of the Rocky Mountain West we’re always talking about. The idea is that you as the reader have access to much of the information that we as journalists do and there is no reason you can’t be a writer, a reporter, a pontificator or a blogger yourself. By empowering the public with a medium to speak their minds, or report on the world around them, we are hoping to expand the media offerings here in the West. Similarly, in a world where sense of community is waning, we also want to create online hubs where readers can foster a neighborly discussion of the issues at hand, all the while connecting themselves with each other and their sense of place.”
So, readers who sign up can comment on specific pages–ie they become “citizen journalists” by joining the story–and while they own their words, New West has the right to use them anywhere they want–for free.
Not everything is working yet, but this looks like an exciting launch–and an integration between the old and the new.
(Via Buzzmachine)
Update: How could I forget to note that New West was the title of the illustrious journal founded by journalism great Clay Felker?
In true mining town tradition, Weber’s site’s name stakes his claim.