To me, the real New Year’s Day has always been the one after Labor Day. Back to school, back to work . . . there’s a genuine sense of something new going on, as opposed to January 1, which I mainly associate with hangovers and the start of a long wait for the arrival of spring.
So let me mark the start of the real New Year with something really new.
My first actual journalism job — “actual” meaning it offered something resembling a salary and even benefits — was a weekly community newspaper that covered two Middlesex County towns. I went on to other newspapers and other jobs, and after a time the newspaper folded. Not because those towns ceased to generate news, and not — God knows — because I was so indispensable to the operation, but because a parade of managerial geniuses had decided that the best way to sell a newspaper was to strip away all the things that a newspaper reader wanted to buy. The story has been repeated many times over the years, and variations are being played out even at this moment.
So I’ve launched a online community newspaper, the Highland Park Monitor, based on the notion that an old-school local paper can survive and (cross fingers) generate enough ad revenue to sustain itself by covering a town in as much depth as humanly possible. There’s already a bit of controversy going on, as you’ll see.
I’m delighted to get clicks from all over the world at this site, and I don’t know if my visitors from New Zealand or Chile care to follow the goings-on at a central New Jersey borough, but anyone interested in following a newspaper that is trying to do something old (i.e., journalism) by using something new (i.e., the Interwebs) is hereby invited to drop by and see how things are going.