Students who run the newspaper at the high school just put out their first edition of the year.
I am guessing they were just a little put out when I told them that they should expect to stick around after school until at least five o’clock for the final edits, proofreading, corrections, cross-checking, and final send off.
The final send off comes when they send the completed files to the printer via the internet. But as they attended to their work, really dug down into it, dove for perfection–which is impossible–their tone and the atmosphere in the classroom shifted.
As the final corrections were made and re-checked, one after another said how nervous they were, how they wanted to keep checking to make sure everything was just right. And then as the corrected files were saved, the moment came for the send-off, and the three editors agreed that they wanted to click the mouse together. They huddled over the mouse, positioning themselves until they each could click together.
“One, two, three,” and it was done.
A privilege to witness
As the faculty adviser, I have witnessed this excitement time and time again–all the effort coming together, finally, and all the effort paying off. It is a privilege to experience it. And I know when the printed edition arrives, there will be that excitement, until the first mistake appears, and then another.
There is the let down, but soon afterwards, the students rally, preparing themselves for the next issue.
And so it goes.
And it is with that same excitement that I have been getting together with a few friends and acquaintances recently to pump some life back into this blog and my own journalistic efforts. Doing the work, seeing it come together, hitting the send button, it is all of a piece; it is part of making a contribution to this little experiment called democracy, and giving people like you and me, regular, hard working people, the opportunity to get our hands on information that makes a difference about how things are done–that makes us participants not observers in our community and how it is run.
I have to say, just as gratifying is working with like-minded people who put what is best for our community first. And it just so happens these people and I agree that Bristol is suffering not only from an unfortunate case of viral social media but because its lacks a vital and robust press.
So we aim to be that presence, with our limited resources, and put Bristol citizens first. Let me back up. In many ways, our resources, with your help are not at all limited but only if we work together.
What do you want to know?
So, we start this conversation by asking you what it is you want to know heading into the Nov. 7 election. Just drop a comment or email email@example.com with your questions. Even better, if you know something, and have creditable sources, feel free to share this information. Together we have many more resources than apart.
It is ironic that I used to write a weekly column, titled “On my mind,” thinking that what I had in mind might be of some interest others, or even, somehow, that we might have the same thing in mind, that it would be a meeting of minds.
What I learned is that what I think is not necessary that interesting to anyone but me. What is really interesting, however, is what people are thinking about and want the answers to.
With that in mind, please send your thoughts, concerns, insights, information and anything else of interest. Your issues might just appear in these pages or lead to stories that help people like you and me make up our minds this coming election; that is in the short run; and in the long run, help keep our local government officials accountable, acting on our behalf.
Again, this small group, of which I am a member, meets weekly, has limited time, but promises to do its best to keep you informed, all the while honoring the best practices of journalism; promising to hold to the highest standards as found in the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics: “Seek Truth and Report It,” “Minimize Harm,” “Act Independently” and “Be Accountable and Transparent.” At the same time, we will not shy away from advocating for what we believe is in the best interests of Bristol–but this advocacy will be clearly stated and we will disclose not only our positions but our relationships openly.
We aim for fact-based reporting, not commentary and opinion, and at times, hope to engage in reality-based storytelling. If we publish a report that is missing an important element or needs further explanation, please let us know. We will do our best to work this information into follow-up reports.
Again, comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I look forward to hearing from you!