Last updated on October 13, 2019
This article is an op-ed
When I started the Lodi Valley Chronicle one month ago, I expected a long, slow climb and I prepared myself to butt heads with every level of government.
I have never been so happy to be so wrong.
I’m still setting up appointments with all the local governments, but everyone I have spoken to so far has been not only willing, but eager to provide any information and background I request. The same goes for the community organizations I have reached out to so far (but there’s so many yet to meet with).
As of this writing, the City of Lodi, Lodi Police Department, Lodi Public Library, Reach Out Lodi, and Village of Dane are actively working with the Chronicle.
The Lodi School District is taking a more conservative approach–sharing with the Chronicle anything they would share with the Enterprise–but waiting until we’ve proven ourselves before engaging more fully. That’s an entirely understandable approach.
Columbia County Sheriff’s Department and the Lodi EMS are interested in meeting; we’re just working out the scheduling.
That still leaves the Town of Lodi, the Town of West Point, the Town of Dane, Lodi Fire Department, Dane Fire Department, and… probably several others I haven’t thought of yet.
If you believe that the Chronicle is worthwhile, please reach out to your city or town government and encourage them to talk with us.
The Chronicle has done zero advertising or promotion. The closest we’ve come is me handing out business cards to a few people1The significantly reduced size of my business card stack suggests it’s been more than “a few”..
- 57 people have signed up for the Sunday Edition as of last night (23 of you need to check your inbox or spam box and click the confirmation).
- As of this moment, 619 unique readers have viewed almost 2,000 pages. That’s up from 486 readers just last night.
- On Friday, 178 people viewed 568 pages. 175 of those readers were new. Credit for that goes to Audrey Parpart and her amazing photos of the homecoming parade. More credit goes to her for telling people about the Chronicle. Word-of-mouth advertising is the best kind there is.
- As of this moment, 136 people have “read the paper” last night–and it’s been a slow news day.
These numbers may sound small, but they’re not. At this stage, those numbers are great.
You’re reading this, so you know about the Chronicle. Please tell your friends about us. The more readers we get, the better positioned we are to attract advertisers. The more money we make, the more we can pay freelance reporters and photographers. And the more you have to read.
Information Should Be Free (part 1)
My promise to you: The Lodi Chronicle will always be “gratis”2Free of charge for readers.
We will make our money3Yes, we want to make money. You can’t expect people to spend hours sitting through committee meetings and distilling it down into a concise, coherent article without getting paid for it. from advertising.
Any ad you see before the new year is from a business that has taken a risk to support a local news source. They believe in Lodi.
Information Should Be Free (part 2)
This puts the Chronicle at a disadvantage in one important area: We can’t be “Lodi’s Newspaper” when it comes to publishing legal notices. Wisconsin Statute 985 sets the rules for the mandatory publication of legal notices4That’s good; the government should be required to tell you what they’re doing. However, it requires that the newspaper charge people. And (as I read it) no municipality can publish their5Edited for grammar/spelling; These are the dangers of being your own editor legal notices in the Chronicle–because we don’t charge.
The Lodi Valley Chronicle is prohibited by law from showing you what the law requires the government let you know. I encourage you to contact our legislators and ask that this be changed.
As journalists, we expect transparency from our government. It would be irresponsible for the Chronicle to do any less. You can view our engagement here.
The Chronicle needs contributors. If you’re interested, contact us,
A Lodi native, Blaze attended the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay where he graduated with a degree in theatre technology & design. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world–including a 6-year stint in China. He has been a teacher, a writer, a designer, and is the founder of the Redleaf Consulting Group.
|↑1||The significantly reduced size of my business card stack suggests it’s been more than “a few”.|
|↑2||Free of charge for readers|
|↑3||Yes, we want to make money. You can’t expect people to spend hours sitting through committee meetings and distilling it down into a concise, coherent article without getting paid for it.|
|↑4||That’s good; the government should be required to tell you what they’re doing|
|↑5||Edited for grammar/spelling; These are the dangers of being your own editor|