What I imagine is a newsroom that is also a cafe. Of course the reporters would have desks somewhere private to do work (a 2nd floor would be ideal), but the front of the newsroom would be a public space where people could get coffee, eat a bagel, use the wireless, etc. At least one reporter would be on-hand to talk with members of the public during business hours. These would be publicly announced “office hours.” We wouldn’t make a big pony-show of it, it would just be a part of the cafe’s appeal. You may just be hanging out – but perhaps you’ll end up in a news story!
Aside from being a revenue stream (coffee, bagels, etc) it would create a deeper connection between the news organization and the public. Could story tips be garnered this way? Perhaps it would be a great way to meet and encourage citizen journalism partners. Could a “Newsroom Cafe” take on MediaBistro in the workshops/training department? Could the space eventually be used to organize civilized public debates? Is this something that could be franchised and repeated in the following cities: San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York, etc?
And of course, see also: New revenue sources for professional news media outlets