Welcome to The Nabe

Locals gather together at the top of Fort Greene Park (Photo by Mitchell Trinka)
Locals gather at Fort Greene Park. The Nabe hopes to emerge as a new, online neighborhood meeting spot. (Photo by Mitchell Trinka)

Walt Whitman, in editorials for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, envisioned Fort Greene Park as a place for people to come together. It was the mid-1840s – a time when rich and poor alike were planting roots in the neighborhood. He rallied support for the park as a public space where all could commune with nature or get the latest local news.

His vision is synonymous with our plans for The Nabe, a blog dedicated to giving voice – and a new meeting place – to the people of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.

The Nabe represents the next chapter in hyperlocal journalism for our vibrant neighborhoods – a continuation of the work The New York Times started with The Local on a snowy day in March 2009. The Times wanted to experiment with new forms of citizen engagement as journalism evolves.

These last four years have brought great change, not only to dynamic Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, but also to The Local. The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, which worked with The Times and the community from the start of The Local, took over day-to-day operations in January 2010, under the supervision of Times editors.

The Times, after vastly contributing to and gleaning lessons from The Local, has moved on. The CUNY J-School intends to keep the experiment going and growing.

In making a fresh start, the blog’s name – and location – has changed. But not its mission.

The faculty and students of the CUNY J-School are dedicated to making The Nabe a place where neighbors not only can come together to talk about anything via online forums, but also to contribute – as commenters, tipsters, writers, editors, crowdsourcing project participants, videographers and photographers.

We believe there are still many lessons to learn in hyperlocal journalism, both in teaching community collaboration and using new tools to tell stories bound in the traditional virtues of journalism. No story is too small.

Our reporters will cover the same mix of crime, school, political and arts news, as well as offer glimpses into the lives of local residents – and their pets. But we’re also here to help you cover your neighborhood – with everything from your write-ups of community board meetings to videos of school concerts to pictures of soccer games in the dust bowl in Fort Greene Park.

In keeping with the spirit of collaboration that drove The Local, and hopefully will carry The Nabe to new heights, use the comments below to tell us what you’d like to see in this space. And tell us how you would like to contribute.

As Whitman once said, “Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work it until it’s done right.”

We’ll do our best – with your help – to live up to Whitman’s ideal, locals. Welcome to The Nabe.

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