Why was Tell Toledo created?

We believe that there is a public need to have one central touch-point where information and press releases can be distributed to media outlets and more importantly, directly to the public. Previously, maintaining and sending hundreds of emails and faxes has proven both to be both tedious and time consuming.

The New Way: This is what we call “Ground Up Media”. This is where you, a member of our community, play a role. You can become a publisher of your information directly from the ground up vs. old “Top Down Publishing” techniques. Here is your chance to contribute and shape Toledo news and information directly.

The Old Way: With “Top Down Publishing” one had to submit a press release to a writer, have it accepted, then approved by an editor (the Top metaphor). This antiquated process involves too many steps and too many gatekeepers of news and information. Most print media has a very limited life (1 day in most cases) and has limited content space.

Where will this lead?

TellToledo.com is an experiment. Our community will determine it’s future direction. Our efforts are undertaken to learn how new media benefits the community and how it will enhance our region.
We expect a few things to happen.

1. Right now our site is geo-targeted to the whole Toledo Community. We see our site expanding locally into the suburban towns/villages and soon even to the neighborhood level.

2. As the site gets more readers and more posts, the information may morph from primarily press releases to journalistic content over time. At this early stage, the direction is unclear. We have already seen the submitted content improve significantly.

3. Add more categories for content and allow user to sign up for “personalized news”. Time is becoming more compressed. We think that the future of news is optionally filtered to each user’s personal interests.

4. That news might be delivered via email, SMS texting or even each morning to a printer in your home. Believe it or not, but the technology for the printer is here already.

Newspapers, radio and TV used to be the glue that held communities & information together, but not any longer. We feel that “Ground Up Publishing” is a new era in bringing our community closer together, by creating free flowing information directly between people…especially as this publishing networks like TellToledo go hyper-local, eventually down to the neighborhood level. When this happens our community becomes more empowered and enabled.

How does it work?

You post your information, press release or story into the system and it will be posted online at telltoledo.com, as well as sent out to subscribers of the system. The system uses something called RSS (really simple syndication) and allows other news sources to pull in stories to their news feeds. Please see the front page of Toledo.com for a simple example of RSS working – we are pulling the stories onto our site directly.

Do I need to be a member of the media to join the list?

No. Anyone can subscribe to the list and begin receiving an email anytime a new story/press releases has been added to the system.

Who is on the Tell Toledo List?

We have over 700 people subscribed to the system as of 8/2008. We speculate that about 200 of these are members of the area press or work in a publishing job. The rest are interested citizens, business people and people who run non-profit organizations.

What kind of content can be submitted to the system?

You can add any information you think is worthy of being distributed to the general public. This could include event date announcements, new business launches, company expansions, local news, etc.

Who monitors the content?

This system is maintained by Toledo.com, and occasionally we will take posts from this system for use on Toledo.com or our other web sites. In the future, we envision members of the community maintaining the content on both a volunteer and paid basis

How long does it take to make a post?

Less then 3 minutes. Just go to telltoledo.com and hit the submit button.

Wow – I love this concept. How can I build a site like this for my community?

That is great. We have been asked this question a few times before. We can help you create a system very similar to this one for your community or neighborhood. The cost is minimal if you are familiar with web technologies. We can help you from A-Z or just provide you with some tips. Please contact Ian Hartten at ian@toledo.com with any questions you have.