The citizen-journalist project YourHub.com was initially championed by Rocky Mountain News editor, publisher and president John Temple, who touted it in an April 2005 Message column with some particularly high-flown rhetoric. "We can fulfill a role of helping to connect the community," he declared at the time. "Readers will be able to share their lives -- and we're giving them a platform to do it."
Back then, few observers expected the concept to survive for long, let alone thrive. But today, with the debut of a redesigned physical version, which appears in the Thursday Denver Post, it's clear that YourHub has surpassed expectations, outliving the Rocky and establishing itself as one of the more sturdy and credible products from the Denver Newspaper Agency.
My August 6 YourHub, which is zoned for Ken-Caryl, Littleton and South Jeffco, is a notably amiable publication. The new front page echoes the Rocky's tabloid look (albeit with Post typeface) but has smaller-scale aspirations, referring to stories like a proposed dog park and a Heritage High School graduate who's risen to Eagle Scout. Inside its 24 pages is a police blotter, complete with a map referring to specific items, a series of news-and-event briefs, a pretty decent and wide-ranging calendar, a movie review -- of (500) Days of Summer -- by a Golden High School student, and a bunch of ads, generally (but not always) for businesses in the vicinity of my domicile. The overall tone doesn't suggest a bad imitation of a neighborhood newspaper, as many observers anticipated early on. Instead, YourHub actually feels like a hometown publication, despite its corporate origins.
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Don't get me wrong: YourHub still isn't a must-read -- at least for me. But I can imagine plenty of other folks finding the paper and its web component to be useful, informative and enjoyable. It's not the journalistic revolution Temple implied, but the paper/site has carved out an old-fashioned place for itself in the new-media marketplace.