Blog Celebrates 2nd Anniverary as Citizen Journalism Site Providing Elkton News Content

This week Someone Noticed marks its second year of existence as a citizen journalism blog filling the news gap in coverage of local government in Elkton.  This initiative developed after some members of the town board proposed letting a commercial developer purchase part of some of the most important open space and historic land in Cecil County.

After we became aware of the scheme, we tried to engage officials in constructive dialogue.  But the local newspaper, the Cecil Whig, wouldn’t cover the matter, though it was openly debated at board meetings.  Therefore our only alternative was to launch a weblog to inform citizens about Elkton’s proposal and create support for retaining what the town two years earlier argued was valued public property.  Of course, the municipality said the tract was priceless when it sought state open space grant money for the acquisition.  This entanglement continued over a long spring and summer and into the fall of 2008, the subject often dominating meetings before officials abandoned the plan.

By this time, two things had happened.  Someone Noticed had a regular readership as people surfed over to our pages.  And we’d also discovered that most important town business wasn’t receiving media attention.  So it was decided we’d refocus and provide a public service by filling the municipal government information gap with balanced, independent reporting.  We’re typically the only media outlet covering the board meetings for rarely does a professional journalist show up.

Now that we’re marking this important milestone by blogosphere standards, we’ll restate our goals and purpose.  This is a citizen journalism weblog trying to fill the public policy discussion news gap in Elkton.  Reliable, consistent reporting on  civic affairs in town is our goal.  The blog as it actively disseminate news and information will concentrate on the subjects print outlets fail to notice, unless another perspective is needed to round out a story.  (Of course, that means we have to cover most governmental news in town.)  We’ll try to be reliable and accurate while providing content that isn’t government or politician approved .

In the news posts, we’ll strive to present balanced pieces.  But we also dig into matters by asking follow up questions, seeking out documentation, and being professionally skeptical.  (There are enough sources serving as press release distribution outlet for politicians.)  Our regular opinion pieces will be labeled accordingly.  Another area for views is the comments section, which is open to everyone provided they meet a few basics of civility.  Different opinions are welcome, even those opposing our views but stick to the issues.  We also encourage people to sign posts with their real name, since that greatly enhances the position they’re taking. 

Of course, we have a long way to go, but at least we’re trying to provide the “411 on the Mayor and Commissioners of Elkton” so the public is kept informed.  Lots of sunshine on the deliberations of local government bodies and fair and balanced reporting helps produce a stronger community and better decisions in local government.

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21 responses to “Blog Celebrates 2nd Anniverary as Citizen Journalism Site Providing Elkton News Content

  1. Mike, Happy Anniversary! Keep up the excellent reporting.

  2. Congratulations, Mike, on 2 years! Keep up thr good work!

  3. Crazy Old History Teacher

    Happy Birthday Someone Noticed! Keep up the good work Mike OOPS I mean Cecil Times!

  4. Happy Birthday to you.
    Happy Birthday to you.
    Happy Birthday, Someoooonnnne Nooootiiicedddd….
    Happy Birthday to you!

    Keep them hoppin’, Mike – and everyone else who contributes!

    Wayne

    • Hey, Wayne remember, I learned from watching a pro cover the Elkton beat once. You remember those years don’t you? That was some excellent jounalism for a small town weekly.

  5. Happy Birthday, Someone Noticed! May you have many more. Your have provided a very important service to Elkton residents and the entire county by holding the political “feet to the fire” in Elkton.
    Noticed your changes in design and have one suggestion: please restore the “recent comments” listing on the right side of your page. You get a lot of excellent commenters and it helps to be able to see what the latest comments are without going through each article.

    • Thanks Cecil Times We were dusting some of the old stuff off and should’ve included that. It’s back up.

      The comments section is something blogs bring to the exchange. Some of it if way off track or people just spea up, but many of the posts really add value to the public discussion or suggest new things for consideration.

  6. Glad you started your blog site Mike. Otherwise most, if not all, of the town’s business would go’UN-NOTICED’ and unchecked.

    • Thanks Scotty. I’m just amazed that newspaper executives don’t see the value in providing real news since that’s what gets readers and maintains circulation. Oh well I guess those well-paid newspaper publisher know something I don’t about how to maintain a product. They have good journalist. Tjey just need to provide sufficient reporters to cover the beat and then get out of the way and let them cover the news. Don’t keep them on a leash.

  7. Happy birthday what a great informative site I agree with cecil times if you could ad back the recent comments

  8. Thank you, Mike, for all the time you spend on this blog to be a service to the community. You do a great job of keeping people informed.

    • Thanks Bob. Appreciate the kind words. There’s such a need in Ekton and elsewhere in the county to do more than serve as the press release outlet for politicans and local government, while keeping it professional.

  9. Good work, keep it up so people know what is happening.

  10. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND MANY MORE.

    • Hey you should start a newspaper. This county needs one.

      • DJ: The county really does not need a fair and balanced news outlet that’s willing do more than serve as a press release outlet for politicians and government, but that’s not for us. BTW, I noticed one of the weeky legacy media sources say its going to be our place to go to get the straight story on the confusing back and forth on politicians so we’ll be able to vote by understanding their positions. Somehow that puts Somone Noticed on high alert. Really. What happens is each of these politicans and or candidates huddle around their favorite publisher/print outlet, whichever one is going to print the story the way the politicians or candidate wants the story to appear. Us, we equal opportunity offendres. We’ll print both sides. They like it went the press is in their favor and they don’t when it’s not. That’s one thing the web does is let everyone equally get his or her message out there rather than having some for profit venture and publisher lockup the news and decide whome they’re going to support. Of course, in Cecil some of these candidates are better at press releases and using the web than others. Some don’t seem to know that they should issue press releases and statements. Oh well I guess they prefer to go to the safety of legacy media.

        Another thing: today you wouldn’t want to it as a print medium. It adds such tremendous expense and labor and the net is becoming the new mass medium, since it’s so easy to move stories, keep them fresh and reach out. Don’t have to print a product, arrange to mail it to customers, deliver it to newstand, then pickup the old ones, etc.

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