leedsGThis week saw the launch of new venture – The Leeds Guardian. The brainchild of freelance journalist (and former colleague) John Baron, this new offering is intended to be a ‘civic website’ for the Yorkshire city.

In the launch posting on the site, Baron explains to readers: “We’re what you might call a ‘civic’ website, which means we’ll be looking at all things ‘civic’, including council accountability, transport and other big Leeds issues.

“We’re aiming to be a centre for debate, with your comments on articles and input crucial. You’ll also be welcome to join us at our open editorial meetings which will be held at venues in Leeds city centre”

Baron says he decided to set up the website in answer to local people’s frustrations that there wasn’t a place for in-depth coverage of the city, ‘somewhere where there’s relevant articles about issues people are talking about.’

“Hence our strapline: What’s Leeds talking about today? We’re very ‘issue’ based and aim not to follow the traditional news agenda,” he added.

The website has kicked off with a debate about what should happen to the now disued former Yorkshire Post site and other local news including tweets from a public meeting about European Capital of Culture.

The site is currently operating in beta while further developments are brought into the offering including a way to involve users more closely using the same n0tice.org technology which drives the award-winning Guardian Witness platform.

“We wouldn’t class this purely as a news site – think of it as one of those ’dot to dot’ pictures you did as a child, connecting people with the big decisions, providing them with access to the latest campaigns and raw information. And of course, providing a platform to debate and discuss Leeds stuff.”