A few months back I proposed a project to the Knight News Challenge around community media tools.

In a nutshell, the thought was to start a project to provide publishers, editors and developers at community media/citizen media sites with a suite of social media tools to enable a much richer degree of participation by the public on these sites.

Now, plug-ins, scripts, guides and tutorials may sound pretty unsexy. But if you’re just starting out in this field and want to add your voice in a meaningful way, what can you do besides start a blog? A community media effort, even if it attracts only a handful of contributors to help build it out, has to start somewhere.

While the barriers to entry for community media publishers are lowering, the barrier of technological know-how remains. Development costs are one of the largest unrecoverable expenses incurred by online community publishers. Offering publishers a Community Media Toolset does two things:

• It connects citizens with other people in the community in more powerful ways than a Web 1.0 site or standard blog is capable of.

• It frees up publishers to devote more resources to paying editors and editorial contributors, letting them get directly to the business of adding new voices to their sites.

I’ll go into more detail in later posts, but that’s the basic idea. Hope you’ll add some thoughts to the mix.