*** UPDATE*** We have now posted our notes from the 25 minute presentation to the grant committee. This is a good read-through for people who want to know more details about what we are proposing.

The City of Asheville and Buncombe County recently made a request for proposals in relation to a grant of $120,000 for community media development. The grant would be used to create a project which put the new media in the hands of local citizens, and was of benefit to the community from an educational, economic, industry and workforce development standpoint.

Ponderwell submitted a proposal which is dear to our hearts. We want to make an online news outlet that will allow the people who live here in Western North Carolina to share and talk about their community through writing, photography, and videography. While there are already sites which focus on the Asheville area, none are focused on creating an interface to actively promote quality citizen journalist reporting. Our system focuses heavily on building an engine for volunteer edited, peer reviewed news and commentary about our region, in order to create a community of both readers and volunteer publishers and editors that not only consume local news and events, but become part of reporting it. You can see our full proposal here:

pdf Download the full proposal as a pdf.

The founders of Ponderwell have been thinking about this for years. We met and formed Ponderwell as a direct result of our participation in an early community journalism site, Newsvine. One of our founders was a part of bringing the Citizen-Times online in the early 2000’s,  building the publishing platform used there, and more recently we built the very successful local photographer blog, imageasheville.com, which focuses on the events and life of our city. We have the technical skills to bring this vision into reality. Apart from building complicated websites including an online music store with a catalog of 20000 products and audio and video streaming and downloads from the cloud, we’ve also found a niche as the technical people that your technical people turn to when they get in over their heads – from networks to databases to javascript to bezier paths on iPads.

We have had several requests over the last few days from community members interested in our proposal. We’ve already heard from some community leaders, and would love to hear from you. Feel free to drop us a comment below, telling us your thoughts.