Start hyperlocal guerrilla newsletters
I love those neighbourhood-specific leaflets/updates/small magazines you get through the door. Why not make something allowing people to easily submit to a paper-based, very localised newsletter?
Content could include news, opinion, but also stories, poems, photos, etc. Kind of like a big "letters page", maybe, or the back pages of the Big Issue.
To make it locally relevant, I'd do the following:
Require registration on a website, including the user's postcode (which wouldn't have to be their home postcode).
Let users submit content to the site by uploading or linking to existing content they have (i.e. integrate with Flickr, etc.) - suggest limiting this to, say, 3 pieces of content per week/issue, to get people to be selective.
Decide (or let people create) hyperlocal areas to cover - i.e. which postcodes/range to cover - for a single newsletter. Each newsletter could be assigned its own moderator(s)/organiser(s) at this point.
Moderators then choose a number of submitted work to go into the next issue.
Selected work could be assembled into a small newsletter (or a big one?) by hand, or just automatically (like Tumblr, perhaps, but for a document).
Print out newsletter cheaply, as many times as you want.
Find distribution point(s) relevant to selected area, e.g. library, coffee shop, laundrette, box outside someone's house. Leave newsletters there.
Possibly also distribute online.
I've no idea what happens after that, but it sounded fun.
Gets my vote! This can be done really cheaply by twitter hashtage/ facbook - and then prnted by a local anchor org (or CVS) and distributed by volunteers. We've had a stab at doing one here:http://streetlifeyork.wordpress.com and it's moving, but we'l see how it goes! The trick, for me, is how to link people with new ideas to existing support structures so that new ideas don't spend all their time setting up legal structures and committees.