A new YourArlington seeks public support for local journalism
UPDATED Dec. 10: Welcome to the new YourArlington. What began 15 years ago as a community-oriented news site continues its mission but with a new look and a fresh approach. YourArlington is now a nonprofit organization.
That means no more paid advertising, but a site relying on community and foundation support. YourArlington also has a new overall design. The two-column format is easier to read, including on mobile devices.
I launched the site in 2006 full of hope for the community as a way for residents to learn about the remarkable people who live in our town and the challenging issues we face.
As local newspapers throughout the country continue to struggle, local news websites are becoming more important in keeping citizens informed. Today, I am convinced that local news that binds together communities with solid information is more important than ever to the strength of Arlington.
Led by board
For many years, I wrote and edited the website largely on my own and later with the addition of several experienced freelancers. I took no salary and sought ads from local businesses to supplement funds from my own pocket to meet expenses. I have been pleased that YourArlington’s online traffic has increased greatly over the years, but so has my workload.
Now, while I remain the editor, YourArlington's operations and strategic planning are guided by a board of directors and advisers, made up of community leaders and residents with broad and deep skills (see below).
YourArlington continues to be free for all readers, and the goal is to directly involve them through their contributions of both news stories and financial help. We now hope that residents and local business underwriting will provide this help through donations, and that foundations will provide grants.
Last June, YourArlington became a registered nonprofit organization, and on Oct. 6 the IRS approved its application for 501(c)(3) status. Your donations are tax-deductible to the extent the law allows.
The updated website you see today is the result of tech restructuring by Scott Samenfeld and design changes by Mitzi Gilbert (no relation to the site's writers).
Here are some of the site changes:
- Above the site flag with the new name, YourArlington, is a new link, "Donate," which takes you to a page with a number of giving options.
- Below this scroll are a series of news categories, which can be used as needed or rearranged as emphasis changes.
- Below the main news stories are an image for ACMi, Arlington's cable-TV station, and a link to its schedule. Under it, "Media partner" reflects the continuous collaboration between the station and YourArlington to present news and views about Arlington as independent news outlets since 2008.
Here are the board members: I am the president. Samenfeld, vice chair, is in charge of technology, which he has aided since the site began, in 2006. Annie LaCourt, a former member of the Board of Selectmen, is the treasurer. Joseph Curro Jr., a former member of the Select Board and School Committee, is the clerk. Melanie Gilbert, who writes about the housing authority, is the secretary.
A 10-member advisory board includes those who write for the site plus experienced journalists David Whitford and Stephen Morgan; Jillian Harvey, head of town diversity, equity & inclusion; former Selectwoman Clarissa Rowe, Barbara Thornton, Rose Udics and Lisa Pedulla.
I plan to continue to be the chief guardian about what is posted on this site and am very pleased to have more help from those knowledgeable about the town. I am seeking an experienced journalist to take over the day-to-day operation of the site, which had record internet traffic in August and September.
Arlington is not yet a news desert. You can help keep it from becoming one.
If you want to know more, email publisher at yourarlington.com.
With hope for a newsy future,
Bob Sprague, editor and founder
The site's mission statement, approved in September:
YourArlington is a local news organization that publishes facts and opinions about Arlington, Mass. We aspire to the highest journalistic standards of accuracy, impartiality and fairness. Our aim is to bolster an engaged citizenry and so strengthen our community and democracy."
This news announcement, which includes personal opinion, was published Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021, and updated Dec. 10, to add a link to Kennedy's column.
Congratulations and good luck! When does the advertising stop and the new format begin?
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