Voice of OC Editor-in-Chief Norberto Santana Jr. was a featured speaker last weekend at the prominent South by Southwest conference in Austin, Tex., joining other news providers on the panel “A Penny Press for the Digital Age.”

Organized by Duke University’s Fiona Morgan, the panel posed the question of what happens to underserved communities and issues in today’s click-driven, advertising-based mainstream media.

Along with Santana, Morgan was joined by Vermont librarian Jessamyn West, media entrepreneur and Harvard fellow Tom Sites and 2011 Knight Information Challenge winner and University of North Carolina professor Ryan Thornburg.

West founded Librarian.net and is working on projects showcasing how local libraries are stepping up to help communities meet today’s information challenges.

Sites showcased a unique business model for news, based on the concept of co-ops like credit unions. Readers actually own the newsroom called the Banyan Project.

Thornburg is working on Open Rural, which seeks to connect rural communities with investigative news resources.


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