This article is an Op-Ed.
The Lodi Valley Chronicle is quickly becoming “Lodi’s Newspaper”. I have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback, support, and engagement from our community at every level. On the other hand, I have been overwhelmed by the amount of work required to live up to the standards I’ve set. So I’m asking for help.
Right now, the Lodi Valley Chronicle is essentially… me. Audrey Parpart contributes photos when she can. We’ve just published the first columns from Lodi Police Chief Wayne Smith and Katherine Casey, administrator for the Divine Rehabilitation and Nursing facility. In the coming weeks, we’ll start seeing columns from the Lodi Library, and a “wine of the week” from Kathy Zielger at the wine bar. But, as of now, the vast majority of bylines are mine.
And I’m doing this for free–or close enough. Quick “back-of-the-envelope” calculations say that–after expenses–I’ve made about $20 for 3 months of work. That’s not a complaint. I created the Chronicle because I feel I owe a debt to the community that raised me, educated me, and taught me the importance of “small town values”.
The Chronicle will continue–even if it makes zero income–as long as I’m able to keep publishing it.
We Can Do Better
The Chronicle should, however, be bigger than me. It should truly be “Lodi’s Newspaper”. In order to do that, I need help.
Spread the Word
“Word of mouth” is the strongest marketing there is. The more people who read the Chronicle, the more attractive it is to advertisers. The more advertisers we have, the more we can pay contributors. The more we can pay, the better content we’ll have. Which…. will get more people to read the Chronicle. Rinse and repeat.
If you like the Lodi Valley Chronicle, tell people about it. If you think your friends would be interested in a story we’ve written, share it on any and all social media you participate in. Tell your friends and neighbors about us. If you’d like to have a window-cling for your business, drop us a line. We’ll see to it you get one.
If you really like what we’re doing, talk to local businesses and suggest that they advertise with us.
You don’t have to be an ace reporter (though we’ll gladly accept you if you are). There are lots of ways you can help to improve the Chronicle.
- Let me know what’s happening. I can only report on what I know, and tips from community members are a great source to get me started. Tips are why we’ve had stories on the active shooter training, new businesses on Main St., the ferry closing for the season, the realignment of state football conferences, and much more.
- Become an “Expert Source”. If you know a lot about a subject, let us know. Insight from people with inside knowledge is incredibly valuable.
- 15 years driving a combine? You’re an expert source about field conditions.
- 15 years on the assembly line? You’re an expert source about that line.
- 15 years serving coffee at the cafe? You’re an expert source on public opinion.
- Offer to volunteer your skills. I can use people who can:
- Take photos
- Edit photos
- Edit articles for spelling and grammar
- Create graphics for local organizations
- Create ads for local businesses
- Do research (google stuff, make phone calls, visit local businesses and governments)
- Attend, record. and take notes on city, village, town, and school board meetings
- Convert PDF documents into text
- Maintain and update information (such as posting the minutes from various government meetings–I’ll teach you how.)
- Do basic financial record-keeping
- Donate. 100% of donations will go to contributors (not me).
- Encourage the Lodi School District to become more involved. The Chronicle is a great opportunity for student journalists and photographers to publish their works, gain experience, get professional feedback, and inform the community.
- Tell the Lodi School District that you want to see local reporting of Lodi school sports. Student journalists are in a unique position to not only report the “facts of the game”, but to gain insight into the athletes and their experiences. LHS has a journalism class. Why aren’t their efforts published for everyone to read?
- Tell the Lodi School District that you know we compete in more than just sports. Lodi has a long history of being a champion-level team in WHSFA and WFCA forensics competition1Lodi also has a long history of top athletes competing as top speakers. I recall many of my students proudly displaying speaking medals alongside wrestling and football medals on their letter jackets., Model UN, One Act Play, FFA, and more.
- Encourage local businesses to advertise.
- Advertise your business
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||Lodi also has a long history of top athletes competing as top speakers. I recall many of my students proudly displaying speaking medals alongside wrestling and football medals on their letter jackets.|