The Local: East Village’s Community Ambassador Courts an Angry Blogosphere

If you’re from outside the New York area, you might not have heard of The New York Times‘s collaborative online journalism effort with New York University. The two will team up, creating a site called The Local: East Village (Lev), which will launch in the next few weeks. The Lev will attempt to cover the East Village area of Manhattan with the help of local bloggers, students and citizen journalists.

You also might not have heard that the local bloggers in the area seem to despise the idea. With headlines like “After helping ruin the East Village, NYU turns its attention to covering it,” it’s not hard to see that the area has its doubts about the new venture. Enter Kim Davis, consulting editor of the site and, essentially, the community manager. Davis’s job will be to interact with the community while recruiting people to write for the site.

So Davis’s job is essentially to convince a local blogosphere to help with a site that many of the bloggers in the area hate the idea of. It sounds like a tough job.

“To have 50 percent community contributions is a worthwhile target,” said Davis to the Capital. “But I don’t think anyone believes we’ll achieve it overnight. Certainly it means recruiting ‘citizen journalists,’ and my understanding is that these are people directly affected by news events, with something to say, who don’t have ready access to traditional media except as consumers.”

Davis’s boss calls him a community ambassador, but he could very well become a community lightning rod. Good luck.