Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, just hired John Temple, the former editor and publisher of Rocky Mountain News, to edit his Hawaii news site.
Omidyar’s Peer News will launch the Honolulu-based local news service in early Q2. Temple, whose Denver-based paper shuttered in February and covered its own demise in heartwrenching detail, will lead a team of reporters in Hawaii.
Omidyar wrote about the news in a blog post on Peer News’ site:
In addition to an exemplary background in publishing, editing, and reporting, John has also created several innovative platforms and led projects that helped promote civil discussion of political and social issues. Frankly, these efforts were probably ahead of their time. We’re confident, however, that now is the right time to bring this kind of thinking to our local news service.
Temple wrote about the move in his own a blog post on his personal site:
I’ve collaborated with many great people in the newspaper industry over the years, but my new colleagues come at these challenges from a fresh perspective and with a record of accomplishment in the online world. I’ve enjoyed my freedom since the Rocky Mountain News closed last February. I’ve been writing here and elsewhere, speaking, consulting, travelling and learning new skills. But as I wrote in a column for The Wall Street Journal last summer, “I genuinely miss being part of a larger entity with a purpose.” That I now will have the opportunity to help build one from scratch, to create a new news culture with such talented partners, makes me very happy.
According to TechCrunch, the Peer News team would not discuss how they will be making money off this new venture during a conference call:
They won’t disclose business model details, the scope of the organisation, what form it will take or even what name they’ll do business under. The only thing we do know is the site will be almost totally Hawaii-focused, which would seemingly restrict the money they could make from traditional online ad revenues where the size of audience means everything.
Omidyar first announced the Peer News project in 2008. Temple will head to Honolulu by the end of the month and hire reporters and an assistant editor. Omidyar will be working toward launching the news site in early Q2. “As CEO and publisher I have a lot of work to do but I’m excited for the challenge,” he wrote.
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