I saw something today on Poynter.org that gave me an idea for one possible way to set up these Neighborhood News Bureaus, or NNB’s, that hopefully will soon hit every corner of Grand Rapids.

Poynter was commenting on this article from Open, the New York Times blog.  The Times is working on opening its API for articles going back more than a quarter century, then challenging developers and tinkerers alike to create their own apps featuring Times content.  (A brief explanation, straight from Wikipedia – and don’t ask me to explain this!):

“An application programming interface (API) is a set of routines, data structures, object classes and/or protocols libraries and/or operating system services in order to support the building of applications.

Where am I going with all this?  I am suggesting that the Community Foundation and Media Center work to give anyone interested the API for this upcoming project.  In other words, create the content, host it on a central CMC server, then let the community decide what they want to do with the content in terms of framing, presentation, discussions, etc.

I know there are people out there who know a LOT more than me about technical issues like this.  If you’re reading – or know someone who is good at this – I’d love to hear their thoughts.