For a journalism project this semester I have been tasked to work with the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. Launched in just last year, the multimedia website partners with the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University to provide "Professional reporting on local issues in five Milwaukee communities." The communities it services are Lindsay Heights, Clarke Square, and the Layton Boulevard West neighborhoods of Burnham Park, Silver City and Layton Park. You can read all about them here.

Looking around the site I was pretty impressed. Its clean and well organized. I especially like how the For Neighbors section is broken up by area. It keeps the news easy to navigate and easy to find for those who will be interested in a particular neighborhood.

The News tab is not very impressive. It is incredibly bland, only listing articles by date and giving nothing that draws you to a specific article. Really its just difficult to look at.

The tab that is best set up is the For Media tab. All the articles shown have the lead underneath the title giving you a better feel on what the focus of the article is. It also provides photos for every article. This tab is very visually appealing, unlike the completely underwhelming news tab.

Some of the content was disappointing as well. One article in particular about an Elvis Tribute Band at the Domes was particularly surprising. It was the top story on the front page, had an 11 image slide show, but only produced three short paragraphs. The brief focused more on the concert series under which the band was performing than it did the concert, which I felt made the headline misleading.

I may have been pretty harsh here, but after I read the mission statement that said the site provided "Professional Reporting" I expected more full length articles than briefs. I also don't want people to think I am trying to tear down the site. These are my observations after looking around he site for a couple hours. In fact, most of these problems could are probably a result of being understaffed or underfunded. I honestly don't know what their business situation is like so I can't comment on their business practices.

All this being said I am very excited to work for the Neighborhood News Service and look forward to all of you reading my work in the future.

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    I'm a native Virginian who traveled to Milwaukee to study Journalism in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. 


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