As noted here before, the News & Record, the newspaper of record in Greensboro, North Carolina, is embarking on one of mainstream journalism's most important experiments: turning the paper into a community forum, "to build a Web presence that invites readers in to share the news they know and engage in the civic discussion," as John Robinson, the paper's editor wrote on his blog. (See online editor Lex Alexander's memo, chock-full of ideas, for more.)
After a visit today with Robinson and some staff members, plus several people from the thriving Greensboro blogging community, I'm more persuaded than ever that this is an experiment to watch -- carefully.
These folks don't claim to have all the answers. They are doing the smart thing: asking the right questions, and listening hard to what they hear. Yet I suspect I learned more from them than vice versa, because this is the first group of newspaper folks I've met who are grappling so directly with the issues.
Go, Greensboro. This is going to be complicated, but fun.