Wondering About the Information Age in Cecil County

Our media releated musings have caused us to wonder about the history of the the journalism on the Internet in Cecil County.   Someone Noticed would enjoy a piece on that if someone would write it. 

The first online newspaper was the County Post.  That weekly started in this area about 1996 and Wayne Fenstermacher was its editor.  He came over to that position from the Herald up in Rising Sun.  Wayne ran a lively paper, the type people grabbed up for his columnists knew how to stir up a little controversey.  Nothing like leaving no reader behind for a little debate, dialogue and discussions are good things which traditionally grow the readership base.

Lots of people disagreed with the paper, but whether you thought they had it right or not, you made sure you grabbed the County Post.  Jim Nance is one of the people that I recall.  Writing about local politicians, as well as the actions of town and county government, Nance knew how to take stuff and present it in a popular, engaging style, while challenging conventional wisdom.  Once Wayne ran a piece saying should we keep him or should we dump him.  It generated a great deal of response, with lots of people calling and emailing in.  Newspapers could use more writers like that to get people engaged in their product, which is what they want to do as they deliver to advertisers.  

The Internet Archive, a cool research site, maintains a data-warehouse that contains the first print/virtual Cecil County Newspaper from all the way back in February 1998.  That’s a long, long time ago in Internet years.  Call it the archaic period, but at least they were pushing the envelope.  Seems that I recall they did some instant, online reporting from a town election and a bank hold-up.  Rather progressive for those ancient days of 1998 for a start-up operation, when you had to do HTML coding to produce web pages.  We’d Sure enjoy hearing more about that.

Too, when did someone create a blog in Cecil County, one that was more than a personal journal and focused on broader community news, commentary or advocacy issues.  Could that have been CanalSide?  It was the first one we became aware of locally, though I’m not sure when they launched that Chesapeake City oriented journal.  By-the-time I tripped across the active pages of CanalSide it was a lively site with lots of comments so I made sure I surfed over each day to read about happenings in the canal town.

Always wondering about things.  Sure would be good to document this since history students or others are going to research that type of thing in the years ahead.  But researchers are going to have a hard time finding data, if someone doesn’t provide us with some insight for they won’t find much of it in the traditional print source.


4 responses to “Wondering About the Information Age in Cecil County

  1. Yes, Mike. I am proud to say that CanalSide was the first ever Chesapeake City Maryland “Blog”. If memory serves, we started posting in February 2006, right after Schaefer’s Canal House farewell/going out of business party. It was a sad event for many folks and I wanted to document the event and other things that were going on in town. At that time, the only source of local news was the Cecil Whig, and people’s front porches. I figured the blog would be a great way to disseminate pertinent information quickly, and indeed it has been helpful to many people in that regard. The most fun for me has being able to showcase events through photographs, which is my all consuming hobby. In March of 2007, we switched over from a GoDaddy hosted blog to Google Blogger, and unfortunately our original content couldn’t be exported at the time, so a lot of fun stuff was lost in the move (especially photos). Fortunately, I did save the posts in a text file though, so maybe one of these days I’ll reassemble the first postings from CanalSide….all it would require is a little time. Thanks so much for your support and your excellent historical work. 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Digital Age in Cecil; Some People Are Remembering « Someone Noticed

  3. Thanks for letting us know how CanalSide got started. A great intro providing background on what kicked off community blogging in the county. A decade or two from now, local high school students are going to be trying to figure out the history of this subject, just as they do with other topics now such as the Cold-War Era, WW–II, fallout shelters, etc. This info will help.

    I enjoy the way both Chesapeake City bloggers handle postings. It done in creative ways. I’ll have to work on that more here.


  4. Crazy History Teacher

    Technology! Technology! I can’t understand this blogging stuff! It gives me a headache!

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