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The idea of assigning reporters to work from coffee shops and other public spaces is gradually picking up steam. See:  Coffeeshop Newsrooms Yield Stories, Sources, Understanding of Journalism at the Poynter site. Both David Cohn, one of this fall's incoming Reynolds Fellows, and Bill Densmore, a consultant to RJI, (this post author) have been pitching the idea for a few years.  Compare to Newshare Commons: http://newshare.com/newshare.pdf

NEW:  Starbucks is recognizing the value of coffee and connectivity. It's doing partnerships with major news providers, with Apple for music and others to offer its customers premium content available on the free web whenever they are connected via a Starbucks location, according to this Mashable story. Add a dollop of local information, too, Starbucks thinks.

A footnote: The phrase "News Cafes" seems to becoming rather a generic term. But News Cafe of Miami Inc. actually has a U.S.-registered servicemark on both the words and mark.  At what point will they object to — or capitalize on — the use of their name for a growing phenomenon? Does Kimberly Clark send cease and desist letters every time you call something Kleenex? The patent office rejected this one as conflicting with the Miami show, and we abandoned the name as a result. But . . .  UPDATE . . . on June 15, 2010, the Patent Office allowed registration of "A News Cafe."

See also:

"Hyperlocal News Cafes Are Taking the Czech Republic By Storm," Toronto Star

"Journalism Business Idea — The News Cafe," DigiDave.org

Bill Densmore  
 
Residential fellow



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