Herald Goes Online!
This small-town newspaper - the Groton Herald - symbolically entered the 21st Century this week by publishing an on-line edition of the paper. Asked what took so long, Editor Russ Harris said, "Rip Van Winkle woke up, and so did we."
Publisher Deborah Johnson said the Herald is committed to publishing both print and digital editions, adding, "We don't see the print and on-line versions as mirrors of each other, but as complementary. Our intention is that the print edition will continue to be the paper of record, while the digital version will have the same content as the print version but will allow updating subscribers with news falling outside the weekly print cycle. In addition, the on-line version will allow us to publish many more photographs in color and longer-form pieces too large for the print edition," she added.
Johnson said that the Herald's advertisers and subscribers have long wished for a digital version of the paper. But, after deciding about 9 months ago to publish an on-line edition, "We decided to spend the time needed to produce what we think is a robust site." In addition, she noted that the online version has formatting for mobil devices, for the convenience of readers and advertisers.
She added that eventually the Herald plans to put the whole 34 year archive of the Groton Herald on line as a searchable resource for subscribers and for historical researchers.
Asked about access policy, Johnson said that the on-line version would be free to all for several months, but that eventually continuous access to all content will be to subscribers. Non-subscribers would be limited to certain number of page views per month.
Johnson, added that both the print and on-line editions of the paper were committed to continuing the long tradition and practise of the distinctly American school of community journalism most famously exemplified and explained by William Allen White of the Emporia Gazette of Emporia, Kansas. White developed a new understanding of the purpose of the small-town newspaper, one that remains at the heart of many newspapers in small-towm America to this day.
White's journalism embodied appreciation for the pleasures of small-town life and respect for the contributions of the common man and woman. He redefined 'news' in terms of equality, continuity, and an unashamed love of community and its institutions.