@RECONFIDENTIAL—The Twitter account that sends out missives about unusual things seen on house tours (such as granny panties left out to dry) tweeted this picture of someone's home radio broadcast booth that comes from Montgomery County, Md. Click over for a bigger picture. [previously; Twitter]
THE INTERWEBS—The non-profit called Next American City has relaunched their website and has a new digital-only publication called Forefront, which issues a single long-form story focusing on urban policy each week. The full press release is after the jump. [CurbedInbox]
Next American City releases Forefront, a weekly series of long-form articles about cities, re-launches americancity.org April 16
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The nonprofit media organization Next American City celebrates the release of the first edition of Forefront, a new weekly media product that reinvents urban policy journalism, coinciding with the re-launch of americancity.org on Monday, April 16, 2012. Presenting a holistic view of cities, Next American City features editorial coverage on a broad range of urbanism topics such as environmental sustainability, transportation, urban planning, governance, culture and economic development in both American and international cities.
Forefront features a single long-form article each week, available to digital subscribers or for individual purchase. Stories can be read online or downloaded to e-readers including iPads, Kindles and more. The new americancity.org continues to offer free daily content, featuring a curated selection of articles from partner websites representing cities around the country.
By creating premium paid content and free aggregate content, Next American City has designed an economically viable media model for the nonprofit organization, which also meets the demands of readers in this shifting media landscape.
When the publication launched in 2003, it was the only magazine covering urban policy issues that appealed to a non-academic reader. After nine successful years of publishing a print magazine, Next American City put its final issue in the mail in the summer of 2011.
“Through Forefront and americancity.org, Next American City aims to cultivate a national voice for the metropolitan opportunity movement, offering readers a coast-to-coast view of issues facing cities, while also pioneering a financially sustainable nonprofit business model for independent media,” said Diana Lind, executive director and editor in chief of Next American City.
Delivering valuable, in-depth reporting on urban policy issues
Forefront reports on the effort to create more sustainable, inclusive and opportunity-rich cities around the world. Published weekly on Mondays, each issue features a single long-form journalistic story (approximately 4,000 to 7,000 words) with accompanying color illustrations and photographs.
In the first Forefront single, Los Angeles-based journalist Josh Stephens tells the story of how and why former California Governor Jerry Brown dismantled the nation’s largest urban redevelopment system. Sponsored by the American Planning Association, the first issue of Forefront is currently available free of charge to all readers.
In the second Forefront feature, journalist Daniel Brook will profile Tony Hsieh, the Zappos.com CEO with plans to move his company's headquarters to the heart of Las Vegas – and bring density, walkability and neighborhood vibrancy with him. Ben Adler, freelance journalist and contributing writer for The Nation, explores the Obama administration's success in reforming federal housing, urban development and transportation policies, in the third single.
By providing a single long-form story each week, Next American City is investing in focused, high-value journalism, providing readers with stories that probe the most important questions of how to build sustainable communities.
A yearly digital subscription of Forefront is $17.88 (or just $1.49 per month) and includes 50 original articles, published weekly. Single issues of Forefront will be available for $1.99 per article, allowing readers to buy individual articles. Occasional articles will be sponsored by organizations, foundations or corporations and offered as free content.
Forefront stories are available as downloadable e-documents compatible with iPads, Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers and accessible through Next American City’s website, offering readers the flexibility to choose how, when and on what device they read the article. All content can also be accessed on smartphones or offline through applications such as Instapaper.
Building a national perspective on cities through local stories about urban change
Next American City has partnered with dozens of respected independent and investigative reporting outlets around the country and has re-launched americancity.org as the only national aggregator of local stories about urban change. The daily content is accessible free of charge.
By collaborating with existing media outlets producing high quality local news, Next American City brings on-the-ground reporting to a national audience, introducing readers to new leaders and underreported stories and cities, while also providing authoritative analysis of the field’s major developments.
Looking at cities with a multi-sector perspective, americancity.org will deliver stories on infrastructure, governance, culture, education, poverty, economy, and the built environment, exploring policies and practices.
Next American City plans to establish partnerships with 100 urbanist news outlets in 2012. Partner websites vary in scope, scale, mission, and form. Some are 501(c)(3) nonprofit urban news organizations like the Oakland Local, others are websites owned and operated by talented individuals like Yonah Freemark at The Transport Politic. The growing list of partners include Seattle Crosscut, Transit Miami, and New York’s City Limits, alongside the BMW Guggenheim Lab, the environmental news-focused Grist, and Feet in Two Worlds, which tells the stories of today’s immigrants. For a full list of current partners, visit americancity.org/about.
Philadelphia innovation hub brings Next American City to the street
Next American City opened the Storefront for Urban Innovation in January 2012, located at 2816 W Girard Ave in Philadelphia’s Brewerytown neighborhood. The Storefront serves as both the headquarters of the publication and an event space designed to engage the local community through panel discussions, lectures, screenings, and exhibitions exploring ways to improve cities. Since opening, the Storefront has featured presentations by investigative journalist Tracie McMillan and Code for America’s Philadelphia fellows.
Like many communities across urban America, Brewerytown has spent the last several decades struggling to rebound from a slow bleed of population and industry losses. Housed within a former toy store, which suffered foreclosure and sat vacant on the commercial corridor, Next American City’s now vibrant Storefront was purchased at auction by Philadelphia-based developer MM Partners, who has transformed several other empty buildings in the area with infill housing and new businesses. The location of Next American City’s headquarters provides the ultimate street-level perch to observe and participate in the rebuilding of a neighborhood.