Cecil Observer Brings Quality Local Content Home to the County

This morning we discovered a new blog, the Cecil Observer, serving readers in the county. Our first reaction is that this is a great product that will serve a market niche for those interested in keener perspectives on the local scene. To start with it is attractive, but in addition it contains insightful original reading matter pertaining to our county. As we’ve said so many times before it is largely about the content for successful media will provide quality reading matter for its audience. The founding editor/publisher, David Healey, is a professional editor with a track record in journalism and creative writing so we’re sure we’ll see a lot more come out of the Observer as it gets underway.

In 2008, we were pleased to see the county generate a bountiful crop of blogs, joining a couple of active old hand in bringing home valued local copy to area readers. Having a cluster of independent writers covering the area provides people with a greater depth of community journalism, as this new media covers local news and events, especially the subjects that aren’t noticed by our legacy media outlets.

It all reminds us of old newspaper days (not all that long ago) when we’d rush to get our weekly paper, the Cecil Whig, crammed with local content, the type of material we couldn’t wait to read. Those old editors, who did some fine work, were anxious to dig into an issue and stir things up a little (just a little) in order to maintain subscriber interest.  Plus they’d produce quality local features. Publishers in that era were fine with such indepth reporting. Gosh that must’ve been good for businesses since careful scrutiny of the pages assured you’d glance at all those advertisements.

As we approach the end of the first decade of the 21th century, bloggers are filling the void at the top of the Chesapeake. Interestingly this sprouting of these latest products seems to be clustered around Chesapeake City and the southern part of the county. That sort of makes Someone Noticed lonely in the county seat, Cecil’s biggest town with 14,000 people, thinking about how a place with 700-residents generates enough news, controversy and dialogue to support three or four resident bloggers. We sure could use another weblog or two helping bring out the “411 on Elkton” since there is so much important material not getting ink in our daily paper.

By-the-way, this Cecil County news portal concept sounds like a successful business model to us, now that we’re getting so much free reading matter online.  Provide a place to find citizen journalism, local news and events that aren’t being covered elsewhere, and couple that with an attractive news portal that has professionally crafted articles, and you’re on to something. Of course, the financial barriers for entry into this virtual journalism world have been so greatly reduced since you don’t need the printing press anymore. We think the Observer is headed in the right direction. We’re going to bookmark it on our site and add and RSS feed so we can check in often for local news that isn’t available elsewhere from legacy Media.

We hope to see more new media sites in the future since there is a need for someone to covering local happenings.

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11 responses to “Cecil Observer Brings Quality Local Content Home to the County

  1. David Healey

    Thank you to SomeoneNoticed for that nice introduction. It is exciting to see so many people jumping into the fray, reading blogs and posting comments. We are really coming full circle when you consider that there were as many as nine newspapers being published in Cecil County a century ago. Almost every town had one.

    Why are there so many bloggers south of the canal? It must have something to do with living on the Eastern Shore … or maybe it’s the water?

  2. Nice post Mike. I like the idea of a news portal as well. The Topix brand of webpages sort of covers this, but the whole thing feels rather mass produced. Off the top of my head, the overhead costs of running a portal would basically be domain registration and web hosting. Domain registration would run… maybe seven dollars a month? Hosting for what would be mostly text and a few low-weight images would be within 10-30 dollars per month (the higher cost buying better reliability, email accounts, and certain niche features). But, at a base-line level, most hosting services will support everything that would be necessary to run a portal site. There are also pay-for programs that will create a portal site for you, where you tell it what you want, and it spits out the code. Another option would be to use the myriad of free PHP applications to cobble together a portal site without the cost of the portal software (probably about 800 one-time cost). At the cheapest you’re looking at… maybe 20 dollars a month, and of course the biggest cost which is the volunteer time to keep it running.

  3. Yeap that is what we need, a few more people watchin Joe. That someone blogger tries, but he don’t have much help and can’t do it all. Heck that Cecil Whig don’t help much. They hardly say a thing about mayor joe. Come to think of it did they say any thing about Mary Jo. Even this someone blogget didn’t tell us much.

    Darn it, there you go Joe

  4. Crazy Old History Teacher

    As Sarah Palin once said, “Say it ain’t so Joe!”

  5. Crazy Old History Teacher

    DON’T YOU KNOW HOW TO READ A MAP OF MARYLAND!? Cecil County IS on the eastern shore! Even my numskull students know ALL of Cecil County is the eastern shore…and trust me, they aren’t that bright!

  6. Crazy History Teacher:

    Go easy on Cecil County’s latest blogger. We’re trying to encourage more main stream citizen journalists to get on board with the web, since people want news about Cecil County. (Since David’s new to the blogosphere, he may not be acquainted with your sense of humor on here!)

    But granted he does get a little mixed up about where the Eastern Shore ends. Some of his other columns got the Daughters of the American Revolution a little over excited about a similiar statement a decade or so ago. But don’t worry, he’ll figure out. We’ll send him a Google Map.

  7. Watching Joe

    We certainly trying to report the news that takes place at the town meetings. We’ll stay at it and get it up, but we sure don’t have to rush since there’s no competition these days.

  8. Anon:

    Thanks for the post. You sound as if you know what you’re doing with this citizen journalism stff. We’d sure like to see a full time site launch and pull all these part-time stringers together. Might give the right person a real start on 21st century digital media, since the main stream media hasn’t figure out the opportunity. What strikes me is how easy it is to pull all these digital media elements together to move stories in real time.

  9. Crazy Young History Teacher: Now you better play nicely with the other kids in this blogging ‘schoolyard’ or we will send you to dentention, or the principal’s office or even worse, I’ll call you “old” again.

  10. Oops.. better send me to the grammarian’s office. I meat to write “detention” in the previous posting.

  11. Oh no, I did it again. I MEANT to write “meant” above. My carpal tunnel is bothering me today and the fingers and brain are not in gear.

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