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Resume: Bob Sprague

150 Washington St.

Arlington, Mass. 02474-1531

sprague.bob[@]gmail.com

781-641-4490 (home)

Twitter: @YourArlington 

SUMMARY

Creative, thoughtful, honest communications professional, at home in a variety of publications and on the Web. Adept at shaping public information in the service of an organization. Reputation for providing prompt, targeted responses to users' need for information. Astute at linking individuals, organizations, projects and sources of information in a timely, highly focused way. 

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Community website: Publisher, YourArlington. a community-news, citizen-journalism site covering issues in Arlington, Mass., at www.yourarlington.com/. The site launched in December 2006. Making the transition to a nonprofit in 2021.

Contributing Editor (September 2011 to April 2019) for Tufts University, Office of Publications: medical, nutrition, dental and veterinary magazines plus videos.

Tufts Dental Medicine, which I help edit, was awarded a gold medal for best writing and a bronze medal as Best Overall Magazine for circulation under 25,000 in the annual CASE District I Excellence Awards.

Reporter (October-November, 2011) for Cambridge Day, covering the 2011 Cambridge city election.

Assistant production manager (November 2007 to May 2011) for Cutter Consortium (www.cutter.com), a business-and-IT consulting company in Arlington, Mass. Involved in all phases of print production, using Quark and Illustrator. Established first online style guide.

Senior copy editor (July 2005 to November 2007) for Network World, a weekly magazine covering computer networking; copy editor for Web site using Rythmyx Web content-management system (www.networkworld.com). Established first online style guide.

Copy editor (September 2003 to June 2005 as well as July-August 1993) for The Boston Globe: Full-time position on night desk, which includes assignments on national/foreign and metro rims for major-metropolitan daily.

Town Webmaster/ schools' communications specialist (1998 to 2003):
Full-time dual position presents accurate public messages about Arlington and its schools, via print and Web. For town, control content and design of Arlington Online, the official Web site, which I created. For schools, compile from a network of correspondents a weekly column of schools news that appears in The Arlington Advocate, write features stories with photos, which The Advocate publishes; prepare via desktop publishing a 20-page Annual Report about the public schools and address current school issues on 11 Arlington e-mail lists. Schools position ended June 30, 2003. Town position ended Dec. 5, 2003.

Higher Education

College-level journalism teaching and advising at Northeastern, Emerson and Bridgewater State.

Newspapers

The Arlington Advocate: editor (1994 to 1995): Full charge of editing, laying out, directing regional and national award-winning coverage for 10,200-circulation weekly.

The Boston Herald: copy/layout editor/slot (1985 to 1991): Business department slot (1990 to 91) and editor in the Sunday and news departments (1985 to 1991). Variety of editing duties at metro daily.

As Advocate editor

Received numerous awards for journalism, including:

o General excellence for a 10,000-circulation a weekly of in the U.S, for 1995, National Newspaper Association. Focused on two key issues -- diversity and education reform -- and, in each case, directed informative news series. The latter increased state per-pupil funding for town schools by about $200,000.

o New England Newspaper of the Year, 1994, New England Newspaper Association.

o First prize, page-one design, New England Press Association.

At Emerson College:

Taught advanced journalism-editing classes. Though hampered by a lack of computer-editing equipment of a kind students would find in a modern newsroom, I arranged with another teacher to provided limited training in PageMaker (which I learned, too), so students could get a taste of computer editing and design.

Incorporated drama into the teaching of journalism, including potentially dry news history. Six former students now in journalism or related businesses.

At Northeastern:

Demonstrated flexibility and the ability to work with diverse populations as adviser to six Northeastern media groups, which ranged from the 10,000-circulation NU News to the literary magazine to the campus radio station. Extended adviser to the Web with creation of the position's first site.

Weekly written critiques of the newspaper. Business manager for all groups. Supervised 80 students, one graduate assistant.

COMPUTER SKILLS

Joomla!, Quark, Photoshop, Illustrator, Rhythmyx (Web content management). HTML 4.01 Transitional. Cascading Style Sheets (level 2). Moveable Type. Dreamweaver MX 6.0, LView Pro image editor. PageMaker 6.5. Open Pages (print content management). CCI, Atex (newspaper editing). 

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Arlington Town Meeting member, 2007-2009.

Helped shape the media campaign called Rebuild Our Neighborhood Schools, from November 1997, when I contributed the campaign name and helped design the logo, which went on bumper stickers and letterhead, through its successful public vote in March 1998. The campaign reversed a 34-vote loss in a June 1997 vote to rebuilding seven Arlington elementary schools and resulted in a more than 2,000-vote victory margin. Web columns I wrote about the opposition, which were picked up in reports in the town weekly as well as in campaign literature, helped influence voters. Through my contacts at The Boston Globe, the paper ran a positive editorial two days before the March 1998 vote.

Academic degrees

M.A., English, (thesis: Nietzsche & Whitman) Lehigh University. B.A., English, Washington & Jefferson College.

SELECTED ACCOMPLISHMENTS

For web site and, schools of Arlington, Mass., a town of 42,389 with nine schools and 4,200 students:

Transformed a series of random community links into the official Arlington web presence.

Encouraged the use of e-mail lists to promote school information, from one overall town list in 1998, to 11 lists in 2003, 10 of them school lists.

Met a key challenge, a call by Town Meeting in 2000 to post on the web substantial numbers of meeting minutes. Negotiated, evaluated and recommended a contract with Virtual Town Hall (VTH), a third-party Web provider, whose services embrace document posting. In 2000, Arlington became customer No. 5 for VTH, which now has more than 100.

Instituted Arlington e-government by establishing the first online registration and payment for recreation programs in December 2000. Worked with a programmer to add bill and assessment look-ups, features that cut calls to Town Hall by as much as 10%.

Addressed 2003 budget cuts with a possible solution: To replace the $3,000 annual cost for VTH, I was learning PHP 4.0, and MySQL. A PHP-enabled search engine was established in January 2003.

Increased public awareness of the campaign to rebuild all seven of Arlington's elementary schools, first by attending a year of building-committee meetings (1998-9) and reporting progress to the public -- in the local weekly and on the web. Extended this campaign from 1999 to the present by continued Web summaries of School Committee meetings.

Improved the volume of School Notes, a weekly newspaper column of school events in The Advocate, from a few inches to close a full page, by developing a network of correspondents at all nine public schools, then redisplaying the copy (sometime in longer versions) for the Web.

Illustrated educational issues via profiles, in print (in the newspaper in the Annual School Report) and on the Web. Example: To educate the public about the impact of a state early retirement law, I created series titled "Teachers -- Retiring and Aspiring," which profiled new and experienced teachers.

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Bob Sprague Letters: Emailing Advocate & Star? Copy it here; it'll be published first
17 January 2022
Let the public know with a letter to the editor. For details, see https://www.yourarlington.com/easy...

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