Today we launch an important and exciting new part of Nelsonmail.co.nz. We're calling it Stuff Nation.
The idea for Stuff Nation was born out of a desire to bring our readers much closer together, to form a more tangible community from those of you who already love to engage with our content, and to give you opportunities to contribute your views and news in a much more meaningful way.
Stuff Nation has many facets. For you, our audience, we are introducing several features to make the site more interactive, informative - and fun.
You will be able to submit material to us to be published on Nelsonmail.co.nz under the Stuff Nation masthead, or even in the main part of Stuff alongside our journalists' stories, photos and video.
If you think you have a great story to tell, or stunning photos or video that deserve a wider audience, you can submit them to our editor through the Stuff Nation reporting section.
Alternatively, you can choose to take one of the newsroom assignments, which will be set by our editors, and contribute to the discussions and news stories we are focusing on and that are important - or just entertaining - to you.
We know you are a very talented bunch, and I am sure there are many good writers and photographers and videographers out there who would like to contribute high-quality content to Stuff Nation.
If you would like some inspiration, check out the Stuff Nation masthead section we launched this morning, which is filled with some of the material readers have contributed to us recently. Or have a look at some of the overseas news sites we admire that have been doing similar work. We recommend iReport, Citizenside and NowPublic.
As part of Stuff Nation, we are introducing a new comments system. Commenting on our stories is a very popular feature but we think the time is ripe to take a different approach that should result in a better experience for you. Commenting will be threaded, so you can more easily follow conversations.
We are also giving those of you with particular expertise or knowledge in a certain field the opportunity to register for our Open Newsroom Network. This will identify you as a potential source for our journalists working in this area and allow them to contact and collaborate with you in covering the news and issues of importance to that particular field. For example, if you are a health professional, or a scientist, or an expert craftsperson, or whatever, we will know that you are willing to work with us on producing good stories and content.
This list will not be made public and your details can be confidential if required. We think there are many of you who will enjoy the opportunity to get really involved in what and how we report issues that matter to your community.
Underpinning all of the above features is a new registration process. We'd like you to register to join Stuff Nation, giving you access to all the above features and allowing us to include you in our community activity. By registering with Stuff Nation, you automatically are registered for all Fairfax Media news websites here.
As well as the above, you will get to create a profile telling us about yourself. You can choose to make this public so when you comment, or have material published, our audience can see a bit about you. You can choose to use a screen name, or your real name for public viewing.
Sign up with your social login and your avatar comes across too. Don't worry, we won't use your social ID to show your friends what you've been reading. Your secret passion for the Ridges is safe with us.
Extra features include nice new newsletters on subjects of interest to you, and the ability to save stories to read them later.
We're really excited about Stuff Nation and the potential to involve you in our news-gathering and publishing. This will give us new perspectives, new views on both local and national issues and also (hopefully) be plenty of fun for all concerned.
Stuff Nation is more than added functionality, from our point of view. It is also a philosophy we have adopted in our team. We intend to be more collaborative in our approach, to be open in our discussions about news and to involve you more in the site as a whole. This does not mean we are watering down or changing tack in any way on bringing you the best breaking news, high-quality journalism from our national Fairfax network, and all the sport, world news, business and entertainment you could want. The content submitted by our readers will be edited and vetted in the same way as any other content.
So, let us know what you think, either by commenting below or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to take a tour around the new features, check out this video. Join up and take a look around. We have lots more features to roll out for Stuff Nation in coming weeks and months and we are really eager to hear about potential newsroom assignments you'd be keen to take.
Do you agree with the city council's decision to put a 30-minute limit on buskers' performances?Related story: (See story)