I had not heard about this MSNBC site focusing on Elkhart, Ind., until a story today in the New York Times.
But I think it's worth taking some time to look at as an interesting prototype of a community journalism in-depth site. MSNBC has partnered with the Elkhart Truth, which still does most of the daily stuff while MSNBC does the depth work. It's a model that might have some application elsewhere. Not that everyone's going to be able to partner with MSNBC. But your local university or foundation might be a good substitute.
(As a former Fort Wayne newsman, I know Elkhart pretty well. It was ripe, I think, for something like this, just as Hartsville, S.C., appears to have been ripe for our HartsvilleToday project. Making these sites successful is about having a special community mix. It is worth exploring further in research.)