Revitalising newspapers … in education

Newspapers are experimenting with various business models to ensure their continued existance in the digital world. I don’t actually think they’ve begun to fully explore the online opportunities yet – but that’s for another post.
Here I just wanted to flag an initiative by the New York Times because it got me thinking about collaboration.

The New York Times Introduces an Online Complement to College and University Courses, Providing Enhanced Classroom and Distance Learning.
NEW YORK, Sep 06, 2007 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The New York Times introduced today a new online initiative that pairs Times content with faculty course material for both credit-bearing and continuing education courses. Educators will now have the opportunity to select Times articles, archival content, graphics and multimedia content, including videos and Webcasts, gathered around specific subjects, and make them available to students online, along with other course materials. Students will benefit from access to thematic content that is drawn from the vast array of Times reporting on a countless number of issues.

Well, it ticks all the right boxes – even introducing lifelong learning into the equation so that any content doesn’t die with the last course you did. Perhaps more interestingly they edge towards a ‘Facebook for learning’ model when they propose:

In addition to enhanced course offerings for college students and lifelong learners, the Knowledge Network will serve as a global networking and professional and academic development resource for faculty, students and alumnae. Users will be able to share work with colleagues, create their own academic or professional ePortfolios (digital repositories of a person’s work), invite peer review and establish professional contact with people around the globe based on common academic pursuits and research.

Now this is all about ‘convergence’; old media living with new media and the resulting mix being qualitatively different from anything prior to it.
Now if you substitute local for global and think about the kinds of partners we have approached for collaboration … They all provide information to various audiences in various ways, like newspapers.

Could a ‘Knowledge Network for Social Change’ be a way in which the audience and the media converge?