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NolaVie joins new nonprofit newsroom

NolaVie is pleased to announce that it will be contributing cultural, lifestyle and community content to a new nonprofit multimedia newsroom announced today by WWNO-FM, the local NPR public radio affiliate, in partnership with the University of New Orleans.

The new organization, to be featured online at NewOrleansReporter.org, is intended to produce in-depth local reporting on issues of vital interest to the New Orleans community.

That includes the cultural landscape of a city renowned not only for its food and music, but also for its creative people, quirky offerings and unique lifestyle. NolaVie has been publishing features, columns, photo galleries, videos and creative writing about the New Orleans scene since its inception in February 2011.

Founded by journalists and cultural leaders Sharon Litwin and Renee Peck with a grant from J-Lab of American University, the nonprofit site publishes content from an array of local talent, including journalists, authors, bloggers and artists. In its first year, NolaVie produced more than 1,000 stories about the city by more than 100 contributors. In addition to its regular columnists, NolaVie publishes curated content selected from articles submitted to the site at nolavie.com/submit. Cultural partners that support NolaVie include some of the city’s leading institutions, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, The World War II Museum, the Contemporary Arts Center and The Historic New Orleans Collection.

Currently, NolaVie president Litwin publishes weekly companion pieces online at nolavie.com (Thursday’s Culture Watch) and on-air (Thursday’s Notes from New Orleans), creating the kind of multi-platform news delivery that will be featured at NewOrleansReporter.org and at WWNO-FM.

In addition to cultural news, NewOrleansReporter.org and WWNO will provide original reporting on key news beats, including government, business, education, criminal justice, and the environment. To that end, The Lens, New Orleans’ premiere nonprofit investigative news site, will contribute news and investigative stories to the new web and on-air endeavor. As previously announced, NolaVie and The Lens have been in talks for months about this kind of collaborative relationship with WWNO-FM.

With its multilevel online, mobile and radio content, say UNO officials, NewOrleansReporter intends to create a sustainable model for nonprofit journalism in greater New Orleans for decades to come.

“This initiative demonstrates the University of New Orleans’ commitment to our community,” said UNO President Peter J. Fos. “We are an innovative, engaged and solution-oriented institution, and we are thrilled to be incubating this project. Public universities should be beacons of light in their communities, and we feel NewOrleansReporter.org will help illuminate the issues that are important to the people of the greater New Orleans area.”

WWNO-FM General Manager Paul Maassen will manage WWNO radio and NewOrleansReporter.org, coordinating digital and broadcast content in a shared newsroom on UNO’s campus, with reporters producing content for both online and radio formats.

“This is an exciting opportunity to converge digital, mobile and broadcast together in a multiplatform newsroom for New Orleans,” said Maassen. “We are grateful for the support the community has shown for this initiative.”

NewOrleansReporter.org will be “open source,” meaning all of its content will be available, free of charge, to other local and national news outlets.

NPR also is partnering in the new endeavor, providing consultation around technology infrastructure and online revenue generation, as well as training to support the rapid deployment of a multimedia newsroom. NPR President and CEO Gary E. Knell calls the new multiplatform project “ground-breaking,”

Initial community engagement and fundraising support for the new newsroom will come from Greater New Orleans Inc., the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region, and the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

NewOrleansReporter.org will launch by the end of the year, says WWNO’s Maassen. Members of the community can sign up here to become founding subscribers, and for e-mail alerts.

“Greater New Orleans is now one of the most innovative regions in America," said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “NewOrleansReporter.org will serve to not only provide high-quality news to the people and media of our community, but also to demonstrate to the world that New Orleans and Louisiana deserve their recent recognition as a top location for digital media in the United States.”

Renee Peck is editor of NolaVie. She can be reached at [email protected].

 

Renee Peck is editor of NolaVie. Email her at [email protected]