The thing that has made the old newspaper industry so fragile offers hope for the future of journalism, he said. Communities have always existed and they were the basis around which newspapers were built right from the beginning.
White told the story of his family, who has owned newspapers for 179 years, since his great-great-granduncle I. F. Mack bought the Sandusky Register in 1869.
"I grew up in the news business. My family has owned and operated small-town newspapers for six generations. You can see the history of the entire industry in the United States in the history of my family: why it once was great, what's wrong with it now, and why I'm starting the newspaper of the future to save it", he wrote.
From the Sandusky Register to the company that now owns 12 newspapers and 10 radio stations, "for more than a century, these newspapers were of, by, and for the people that lived in their communities", White wrote. "And community is why the newspaper business is falling apart", he added. Publishers mostly stopped being community men and women and the ones who are authentic members of their communities are rare. And secondly, community itself has moved. "People don't swing their canes on Main Street anymore, and if someone did, he wouldn't hit a soul. That doesn't mean community is gone, however. Wherever people get together and talk, and from relationships and social structures and identities, you've got a community", White explained.
The point is that communities today are defined by different criteria. Once they were defined by geography, today by interests, concerns and even histories.
The aim of the Daily Dot - White stated - is to report on World Wide Web community, in the same way his great-great-granduncle did. "We believe the Internet is made to connect us, not isolate us. Social networking is the largest single activity online. The sizes of some virtual communities rival those of states and countries. Yet existing publications still cover the Web as if it were a house of curiosities, not a place people call home. Nobody writes about the Web community as a community. Until now", the site claims.
"We will be carrying the tradition of local community-based journalism into the digital world, a professional coverage, practice and ethics coupled with the kind of local interaction and engagement required of a relevant and meaningful news source", White wrote.
Finding new ways to build and maintain the community's engagement is a goal shared also by media outlets that introduced games dynamics within their publication. As it was already reported, "the goal of social games - to encourage deeper engagement and participation - is nowadays fundamental for news organizations to build a loyal community and therefore readership".
Will communities be the future of journalism?