The ability to distribute information has radically changed over the past few decades.

Printing and distribution used to require massive amounts of time and effort— but the internet has changed all that. Today you can reach the much of the planet’s population with a free website and the click of a button.

In a connected world, everyone is your customer— but also every one is your competition. That goes for small businesses as well as media.

So much of what truly impacts people happens on the neighborhood. That new apartment building, that fired school principal, that string of burglaries that isn’t quite dramatic enough to make the local news.

Facebook groups and Nextdoor highlight the appetite for neighborhood-based news and information, but even though I’ve been working on this project for a while, I’m still hesitant to wade through 100+ acidic FB comments or all the neighbors trying to sell something on ND.

Funding neighborhood-based reporting is the key, however. Publishing on the web is incredibly cheap, but I don’t think anyone should have to work for free. Starting with Montavilla, I think we can put a part-time reporter in every neighborhood— it’s one of the primary goals of Village Portland.

The other foundational goal is to connect local businesses and organizations to their neighbors. It’s not easy to sift through the entire internet to find a business a few blocks away, and I think we can do better.

Right now, if you’re a small business owner, I’d like your feedback on neighborhood news and marketing. I need to know how Village Portland can help connect you to your neighbors, and I think this survey is a good start.


Andrew Wilkins