One primary concern for a Lehi news organization would be cost. Especially the upfront cost. Getting a website would be financially painless, but getting paid reporters or printing with any regularity would become cost prohibitive very quickly without a revenue stream. Without a very compelling argument I would not want to take money from the city to run the organization. It should be privately funded and run from neutral sources of revenue. Advertising on the site should be able to pay the modest costs of running the site, but I would be wary of expecting it to pay for much else (at least until I saw actual revenue coming from that advertising). Ideally the cost of printing would be such that a modest price for the printed version of the paper would cover the costs of printing and print distributions thus allowing people to access the news for free from the site if they did not want, or could not afford, to pay for the printed version.
For the reporting, I wonder if it would be possible to get by with less than 5 paid employees. One would serve as editor and head of the paper, perhaps three would be paid reporters, who would be expected to extensively use bloggers and comments from readers as sources of information to drive their reporting, leaving one employee to manage any other administrative functions. I wonder if there would be any possibility of collaboration with the high school or with university students interested in reporting as a way to add some unpaid staff to the press corps.
The initial move in starting such an organization would be to find out how much interest there is. Are residents interested in having a Lehi-centric source of news? Are there bloggers who are interested in their community (as opposed to some other special interest they might blog about) who would be willing to contribute and work with reporters? Are there others who are not current bloggers but who are interested in contributing to an ongoing discussion of local news items? Would the city council and local businesses be interested enough to provide information relative to whatever discussions are current?
Anyone from Lehi or surrounding areas is welcome to answer.
If you are not near Lehi I would still like to hear your thoughts on this – would this interest you in your location? Does the idea seem sound?