EBay founder Pierre Omidyar and former eBay VP Randy Ching are setting up a local public affairs and civic news site in Hawaii, where Omidyar lives, according to a post on Omidyar’s blog that was picked up by paidContent. Former Rocky Mountain News Editor and Publisher John Temple has been hired as its editor, and the site is being advised by former McClatchy VP of News Howard Weaver.
Omidyar, the French-born engineer whose brainstorm that there wasn’t an easy way to sell Pez dispensers led to the creation of eBay, said the site was only in “early planning stages” but will debut in 2Q 2010. A central goal is to prove that local news is sustainable.
Omidyar is hardly new to grassroots local media efforts. The Omidyar Network, a foundation, has been an investor in BackFence and Dan Gillmor’s Bayosphere, and also was a sponsor of The Media Giraffe Project in 2006, among other activities.
Weaver, in a blog post of his own, says “the new venture intends to demonstrate that a digitally native, technologically fluent web organization can profitably serve targeted readers who want sophisticated journalism focused on local civic affairs.”