As if the newspaper industry needed yet another upstart to threaten its very existence... While reading the latest issue of Time, the one with "You" as the "Person of the Year", I came across an interesting article about outside.in, a site that describes itself as "a place to see in a single glance all the interesting things that are happening around you."
That sounds a lot like the local community focus most metro newspaper websites have yet to master. They could learn a bit form outside.in. The core idea is pretty simple: serve as an aggregator of blogs for cities across the country. As of today, only 56 cities are represented, but it's pretty easy to add a blog or two for a missing city to get it on the map. It's disappointing to see there are no entries for the entire state of Indiana, so I had to look up my original hometown, Pittsburgh, to see how outside.in works.
The current outside.in service is pretty useful although I can see plenty of opportunities to add more capabilities down the road. Their aggregator functionality means you can have one RSS feed for all the blogs in a particular city. Nice. Keep an eye on this one as they expand and "come to your home town." If you know of a blog with a local/community focus go to this link to add them to the outside.in service.