TheLCN.com, an experiment in community journalism
It’s with a mix of pleasure and no small degree of anxiety that we present to you TheLCN.com, the web edition of The Livingston County News.
We’ve served Livingston County with a fine weekly newspaper since 1989, building a loyal readership and a stable collection of advertisers who believe their message is best delivered alongside photos, stories and columns about local happenings written by local people. While newspapers around the country are struggling to keep afloat — some unsuccessfully — we’re doing better by comparison. What we print each week cannot be found anywhere else, and our readers consider it valuable enough to subscribe or pick us up in stores.
Why monkey around with a good thing?
Newspapers online have been a part of the media landscape for almost 30 years, as this KRON-San Francisco news clip proves:
We’ve been slower to adapt because the Internet has grown in popularity in large part because the information you find there is free.
Well, not exactly “free.” You still pay your internet provider a hefty monthly sum, and you had to buy that computer or cell phone you’re reading this on. The cost of delivering news and other information, in other words, has shifted from the people who own the press and the antennas to the masses. But, as long as you are spending the money anyway, why limited yourself to one or two news sources? The whole world is at your fingertips.
The end result is that newspapers, radio and TV have gone from being the dominant forms of American media to being just one of thousands of voices in a sea of communication. It might take you 15-20 minutes to read everything you want in the Livingston County News each week, but if you’re in a certain age group, you’re likely to spend 3-5 hours keeping up with your college classmates’ baby pictures on Facebook or watching someone’s Doberman try out the waterslide in a total stranger’s backyard.
Where does this leave us?
We’re betting that you’ll want to include TheLCN.com in your regular diet of Internet consumption. We’re not going to simply print everything in the newspaper online. Rather, we’re going to let the two products diverge — but support one another. For those who enjoy the crisp, bold design and colorful photos of our print edition, we’ll still be there for you — and you’ll still find things in our pages you won’t get anywhere else.
Online, we’re going to do what a weekly paper can’t. We’re going to break news as it happens. We’re going to provide comprehensive community information. We’re going to link out, as this article has, to relevant resources elsewhere on the web. We’re going to invite you to comment, participate and create. Wherever possible, we’re making our site permeable to the internet-at-large, using popular social networking tools to help you search and share to your heart’s content.
The LCN.com is still in it’s “beta” stage, meaning you’ll find bugs and shortcomings here and there as you use it. Only a few of the features we have planned are active. We’re still getting our feet wet, wading in slowly. Some things you’re looking for here are missing because we haven’t gotten around to implementing. Some of those things aren’t here because we don’t know how to build them yet; TheLCN.com is a homegrown solution, not a slick commercial package. Some of those things are being withheld because we want to protect the exclusivity of what you’ll find in print.
Look around, let us know what you think and be sure to come back week after week. We’ll be evolving and improving every time you check in.