Honolulu Civil Beat will have ‘reporter-hosts’, ‘peer news’ and is designed as a ‘civic square’ for Hawaii; what’s more it has soft-launched without any stories.
It has also introduced a payment plan from the start: $19.99 per month for full access to articles, although currently reduced to $4.99.
Oh, and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is its CEO and publisher.
Its editor John Temple says, to first users:
How will we do this to best serve you? First, you’ll be part of the process. You might have noticed that we’ve opened the doors to this new civic square without putting up any news articles. That’s different – a news service without news, at least initially. It’s intentional. We want to begin by talking with you about what we’re doing, to hear what you want from us and what you think we should be asking. We believe conversation and civil debate with our reporter-hosts and with other members is central to what will make Civil Beat valuable. And we want you to see that the core of our service isn’t the article itself. Of course, incisive news reporting soon will be an important part of what we offer. But at the heart of our service are pages dedicated to providing you context and understanding about the issues you need to know about. These “topic pages” are living pages. They’ll grow over time, with your help. We know you’re busy and that our job is to help make it easy for you to learn about and truly understand what’s going on, and what you might be able to do about it. With our approach, you should be able to find the background you need when you want it, without having to surf thousands of pages of documents or make numerous phone calls to unearth what should be readily available to you.