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iVillage Raises Its Voices

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iVillage has always maintained a close relationship with its community, particularly its more vocal and active members.

Now, the NBC Universal-owned site seeks to channel the energies of its outspoken users -- and discover new voices -- with the long-term goal being to place them front and center as part of a new content initiative.

Today, iVillage, in partnership with NBC Local Media, kicks off a quest to identify 10 opinionated, outspoken and well-informed women.

These users will emerge either from the large pool of frequent iVillage.com commenters or from the blogosphere, and may hail from one of 10 markets where NBCU owns and operates TV stations, such as New York and San Diego. Those women will be tasked with regularly producing blog posts and video clips for iVoices on iVillage, a new content section that will cover everything from health to pregnancy to finance and beauty. 

"This is an extension of what already happens on iVillage, but [it's being structured] in a more formal way," explained iVillage evp Jodi Kahn. "We wanted to really craft a program that brings women's voices forward as part of formal editorial product.

"And this is not just iVillage users," Kahn added. "We want to bring in more voices, recognizing that women are so influential in their communities. This is going to be a franchise for us."

It may potentially spell a new franchise for local TV. iVoices on iVillage content will primarily appear on iVillage.com. But it will also be available to NBC's local TV stations to use on air as needed. In either case, NBCU plans to promote the new content on its stations.

To find iVillage's sharpest and most vocal users, iVillage has lined up Today Show's Natalie Morales, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer, LXTV's Jane Hanson and iVillage chief correspondent Kelly Wallace to serve as judges in the search. Between now and Aug. 30, interested users can log on to iVillage and submit both a photo and a 150-word essay explaining why this opportunity is essential to them and their community.
 
"These women are stars in their community," said Kahn. "We want to really promote their point of view."