Welcome to the first edition of the new Shrewsbury Lantern!
It’s with great joy that today I roll out the very first issue of what I hope will ultimately become a part of the fabric of our lives here in Shrewsbury – our first online weekly publication, written and edited totally by Shrewsbury residents. Our local print media has served us well, and will continue to do so for years to come. They’ve certainly been huge supporters of myself and our town. The intent of the Lantern is not to “replace” print media, but rather to augment it. The traditional model of all print media has been the generation of advertising revenue, which is then balanced out by the editorial, or “news” portion of the paper. Included as a third element is what i call the “social reporting,” which I define as the photo of class x at school y doing a bake sale for charity. This model has served the print industry for over one hundred years.
The challenge inherent in any advertising based media, however, is that the amount of space available for news and social, is unquestionably tied to the amount of advertising sold. As the economy has tightened, and revenues have slowed, local papers have been understandably forced to cut back their page counts, leaving many stories untold. Online media avoids this problem by being a non-advertising based platform, with unlimited page counts, an an eye on how to best serve the community. In the Lantern, if there are 50 different activities a month that local residents are doing, then by golly we’ll be able to add them all. We don’t have to be limited to a single photo of the parade, but can have a full gallery of 100 pictures. Editorial commentary doesn’t need to be limited to x words, but rather allowed to be explored to it’s full capacity. Open up the local newspaper, and you’ll inevitably find an article about the St. John’s vs SHS Varsity Football game. Well, that’s a great story, and needs to be covered – but what about the rest? Over 1000 students in this town are involved in Sports. Where is their coverage? The Little League Mets that took the World Series this year, or the White Sox who came from 6 runs behind in the bottom of the 6th with two outs to tie the deciding game and force extra innings. How about the SHS Junior Varsity Soccer team, and their incredible 5-1 victory over Worcester last night. These stories need to be told too, and with the help of our team of volunteer reporters, they will.
Some might ask, how is this any different than a “blog,” and the answers are many. On the one hand, it is like a blog, in that its based on contributions from the community, without the need to drive ad revenue. In other respects, however, it is vastly different. For one, the bulk of the Lantern will be written by our reporters, and stories or ideas should be submitted to them, and will be vetted by the editor. This isn’t going to be a place full of anonymous postings, disparaging anyone within earshot, but will be a vehicle by which those with valid story ideas or comments can be heard.
We will ultimately be accepting a very, very ,very (did I say very already) amount fee based advertising, but only from local business designed to reach the Shrewsbury market – and at this point only enough to pay the costs to run the paper. If your business would like to get in on the ground floor, at a ridiculously low cost, please email me at steveshrewsbury.net
Again welcome to all of you, and please come on back to watch as we grow.