by Glenn C. Koenig, webmaster at Town Wide Mall.
EDITORIAL - After the Beacon Villager newspaper ceased printing an actual newspaper a year ago, it took me until recently before I decided to start an online news feed for Maynard. Back when the Beacon Villager was still being printed, I think they had one reporter covering perhaps 2 or 3 towns. So effectively, we in Maynard jumped from a local paper with 1/3 of a reporter, to me, a self-appointed reporter devoted to just this town.
I refer to myself as a "citizen journalist" because I'm working independently, rather than as part of a news organization. Also, I live and work right here in Maynard rather than somewhere else.
To better serve the needs (or at least the desire) in Maynard for news, perhaps we could have more than one reporter working on stories. In fact, each reporter might set up their own news feed, then we each provide links to the other’s web sites. That way, readers might pick and choose among them.
The question then is, where are these additional reporters going to come from? They could come from all walks of life, potentially. I mean anyone from age 9 to 90 (or beyond) knows how to tell a story. Quality journalism is essentially storytelling, enhanced with a few other skills that make it good readable news. News is essentially stories based on actual events or research, rather than fiction. Now, freed from the printed page, news can also be listenable (radio or podcast), or even watchable (video segments), all available through the web.
I’m more of a self starter than most people, it seems. Other people often need a little more foundation, and perhaps a little boost, in order to get going on something.
So, let’s try this: I publish a series of articles under the title of “Citizen Journalism.” In each, I offer some of my experience in doing this, and some of my thinking behind what I’m doing. You read them, then give me some feedback on what you think. This could be via comments on each one I publish (where others can see what you’ve said), or by direct message to me, via the “Contact” page on this web site.
I could even set up a face to face meeting for a small group of those interested, perhaps on an weekday evening or some time on the weekend. This might be in a public place, such as at the Maynard Public Library.
After I publish a number of these Citizen Journalism editorials, we might even gather for a practice session. We could tell each other stories, while those listening take notes and then write up something about what they heard and see how it comes out. That might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but if it intrigues you, I’d like to know. Remember, this is for all ages, from 9 to 90, as I said. I think anyone of any age could get some benefit from experimenting with this, even if they're not quite ready to start up their own news feed! I think the best learning comes from play, so that’s the spirit in which I offer this.