The following three articles are from 5 years ago today, the first two were published on June 16, 2008, and the third on June 17, 2008. Each was written by Ed McKeon.
These articles were the first ones posted on The Eye, and they are as relevant today as they were 5 years ago. What you read on The eye is entirely dependent on volunteers who write a short report or send in a photo about an event (usually one they would have attended anyway). McKeon's original guidelines have been fleshed out a little, the Eye Stylebook contains further elaborations and suggestions.
Please consider contributing, send an email to the general Eye email address; any of the current contributors can also point you in the right direction.
Here's looking at you
Increasingly local media is failing the municipalities and communities they cover. Corporate ownership has drained valuable dollars from the local papers, leaving them to scramble for coverage. It's not through any fault of reporters, it's through lack of reporters because the corporate parent believes more in advertising than editorial content. No single reporter can be at any one meeting.
Think of Middletown. Forty-two square miles. An active Police Department. Municipal meetings nearly every night. Cultural performances galore. Sports at many amateur levels. There's no way that even a handful of reporters can do the town justice.
But what if we become the reporters - those of us who go to the meetings, and concerts, ballgames and social events. With a digital camera, an audio recorder and a laptop, we might be able to do a far better job than the newspapers ever could.
So that's the idea. A blog devoted to our town, and written by its residents. Imagine what might happen if there were a set of Middletown eyes at every significant (and maybe insignificant) event.
Of course, we need volunteer correspondents. More on that in a later post. For now, think about what you would have liked the newspaper to report at the PTA meeting, and then consider how you could write it to get the most important points made.
Consider it your Eye, and your point of view.
The EYE opens
Today marks the official blog publication date for The Middletown Eye, a cooperative news, information and opinion blog created by, and for the residents of Middletown CT.
Inspiration for the Eye came from Jennifer Alexander who mentioned more than a year ago that such a web presence would be valuable for Middletown (because of that, it's an honor and pleasure to feature a posting by Jennifer as the opening blog). Jennifer also noted on hearing about the Eye, that the name of the blog has a triple meaning - "eye" as in seeing, "I" as in created for and by residents, and "aye" as in voting for progress.
In addition, the success of the Wesleying blog, created by and for the Wesleyan community, but not officially linked to the university, has been a huge source of inspiration.
Please bookmark the page, and feel empowered to contribute. Our initial goals will be modest - at least four original postings a day, with hopes that by the 6 month mark we'll have 500 daily visitors.
And so opens the Eye. Let's see what there is to see.
Looking for correspondents
There's only one way this is going to work.
We need people who are willing to blog about the events they attend. We're not necessarily looking for "reporters" to attend specific meetings, we're just looking for folks like you who are attending anyway and would like to write a few words about what you witness, and how the voting went.
There are a few rules:
No personal attacks.
No anonymous rants.
Facts trump opinion.
No slander, unfounded gossip, innuendo.
What we are looking for is people who would like to blog in areas like these, and more:
Middletown civic meetings
Area cultural events
State politics which affect Middletown
Federal politics and policy which affect Middletown
Middletown business events
Think pieces (which are not personal attacks)
(Additions to this list are welcome)
If you decide to write, it would be great to carry your cell phone with camera, or a digital camera along because photos help people pay attention to what you're blogging about.
If you're interested, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org