Saturday, April 30, 2011

Alliance to bring you more local news

More news is good news. And that is what we have for you now, through a new feature on

It’s called the Charlotte News Alliance (CNA). This is a network of 16 local websites, and growing, that have partnered with The Charlotte Observer to offer you the region’s most comprehensive look at local news.

You can find summaries and links to the best of these stories in the lower half of the home page on A number of these stories will also appear on the printed pages of the Observer. In turn, some Observer stories will appear on the partner sites.

Some CNA sites are operated by journalists, some by civic-minded citizens. But all are opening doors to a tier of news coverage that is uniquely “hyper-local.”

By that, we mean news that can be as local as your own neighborhood or your own particular topic of interest.

For example, is a hyper-local site based in south Charlotte’s Ballantyne community, while is a news and information site focused on African-American life across Charlotte.

Through this alliance, we believe we are building on the strengths of all of the partners. How? is the most visited local news site in both Carolinas, attracting 2.4 million viewers a month from around the world. But our region is vast and still growing, making it very challenging to deliver everyone the most intensely local news possible.

This, however, is the primary mission of hyper-local sites. They can deliver readers a more narrowly targeted area or topic. Their challenge often is building enough audience to generate revenue needed to operate their sites. Their affiliation with adds to that audience.

Working together makes us all stronger. It also provides you richer choices of content in one convenient place.

We began assembling this alliance more than a year ago, initially as the Charlotte News Network . Our preliminary work was aided by a grant from J-Lab: The Institute of Interactive Journalism at American University in Washington, D.C.

Among our partners are several startups, including, which covers uptown Charlotte and four surrounding neighborhoods. We also have the websites of established media, including La Noticia and Mi Gente, both Spanish-language newspapers.

If you know of a local website that would be a good fit for this alliance, email a link and description to the Observer’s innovations editor, Jen Rothacker. You can see examples from all the partners, as well as other details, at the Charlotte News Alliance page.

Reach Rick Thames at, and Phone: 704-358-5001.

The Charlotte News Alliance

Ballantyne Scoop: Community website based in Ballantyne.

Carolina Public Press: Asheville-area news site dedicated to in-depth news in Western North Carolina.

The Catawba River District: News about nature, learning, recreation and community development along the Catawba River.

Charlotte Viewpoint: A web-based magazine of essays, reviews, fiction, poetry, photography and video produced by citizens.

CLT Blog: A community website with users submitting Charlotte news, video, photos, links and blogs.

The Gatton Report: Investigative reports from the Mooresville/South Iredell area.

Hoodie Charlotte: Covers five center city neighborhoods – Dilworth, Myers Park, Plaza Midwood, Elizabeth and Center City – with news, features and photos.

Inside Stanly: News and features from Stanly County.

The Johnsonian: Winthrop University’s student newspaper.

La Noticia: Website for the city’s largest Latino newspaper.

Mi Gente: Online report from this weekly Latino newspaper.

Monroe Scoop: Community website based in Monroe and Union County.

Niner Online: UNC Charlotte’s student newspaper.

Qcitymetro: News, commentary and events about Charlotte’s African-American community.

Tega Cay Talk: News, events, people, places, and “The Good Life,” in and around Tega Cay.

Villa Heights: Community website serving Villa Heights and surrounding neighborhoods.