- A platform for a community to define civic needs, then measure and guide progress toward meeting them. Every community in America needs to know how it ranks with its residents and businesses. Reliable answers are critically important because they may not jibe with what the opinions of community officials. But there are no systems that deliver reliable answers. Local America will be a platform for communities to rank themselves across a broad Livability Index covering 20+ categories. Champion: Tom Grubisich.
Every community in America needs to know how it ranks with its residents and businesses. Reliable answers are critically important because they may not jibe with what the opinions of community officials. But there are no systems that deliver reliable answers. Local America will be a platform for communities to rank themselves across a broad Livability Index covering 20+ categories. The rankings won't come from outside groups. The communities will own them. What are the community's strengths that are worth protecting? What needs to be fixed? With their livability rankings from data and feedback from local experts and "the wisdom of the crowd," communities will have credible answers that are continually updated. The initial ratings will come from a wide selection of data collected, filtered, structured and weighted by Local America and interpreted by "sense-makers" from the community. Those first-cut ratings will be pushed up or down by weighted community feedback. Community empowerment doesn't stop there. Each resident will be able to generate rankings based on his/her personal preferences. For example, the 28-year-old software developer is likely be especially interested in whether his/her community has a dog park and in trails, tennis courts and nighttime entertainment and leisure venues. The 38-year-old mother is likely to be most interested in the quality of the schools, playgrounds and activities for young children.
This slide deck tells the Local American story -- http://newshare.com/pivot/localamerica.pdf
Local America has patented its Livability Index, including the algorithm and the contextualization process that will produce the ratings. The Alteryx business intelligence company of Irvine, Calif., is providing us with free software to develop the Index. Matt Leighninger, executive director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium in Washington, D.C. -- a leading expert on public engagement -- says Local America "could be a lifeline for the news media as an industry (see slide #8 in deck). We have a strong chief adviser, Mike Orren, who founded Pegasus News, a network of 35 community sites in Dallas-Fort Worth. We believe the rankings, because they're owned by the community, will be a strong attraction to residents who want credible information about how well -- or not -- their community is performing.
Costs will be low because content will be generated from data and community feedback.
Local America will have three revenue streams. We will sell licenses to existing local websites, most of which are looking for strong, unique content. As "The New News" columnist for the hyperlocal industry website Street Fight -- http://streetfightmag.com/category/commentary/the-new-news/ -- I will introduce the system to potential licensees, including Datasphere of Seattle, Wash., which powers 1,900 community websites operated by TV stations in major markets. These sites are hungry for good content that will engage their audiences. We also plan to market Local America to community foundations and other nonprofits throughout the U.S. that might want to feature livability rankings in topic areas built around the areas of interest, like the environment. Local America's Livability Index -- on which rankings are based -- can be expanded or contracted to suit the licensee's needs. Local Amerifa will also receive a percentage of the revenues from advertising that licensees sell against the inventory of our pages
Our next step is developing a demo covering 10 communities in metro Washington, D.C., including the District of Columbia. Attached is a sample article based on the District of Columbia's Housing rank. The headline -- "Poorest Wards Lead District's Housing Values" -- gives you an idea of the compelling content we will produce. To develop the demo, we need to raise $60,000. Having our project featured or endorsed by Reynold Journalism Institute will help us raise that money and put in action a project that will strengthen communities everywhere and build a new bond of trust between them and the news media.