By Meredith McCulloch, Kim Siebert MacPhail and Julie McCay Turner — The Citizen’s founders
Just six months ago, the Bedford Citizen was born when an article about the departure of School Superintendent LaCroix was posted on our new website. Our goal had been to have a “soft roll out,” expanding our scope gradually as we gained experience. That was not to be. The public response to the Citizen,fueled by a series of contested state elections and public hunger for more local news, propelled us forward.
Today we are proud to announce that at this six month milestone, we have had nearly 100,000 page views, with over 360 Facebook followers, 67 Twitter followers, and a mailing list of more than 750 people who receive our Sunday Summary with links to all the stories published in the previous week. We enjoy strong working relationships with The Boston Globe via their Your Town pages at boston.com, https://yourtown.boston.com/bedford, and with Bedford TV.
Our goal is to be a fresh approach to community news—a community-supported news source. We are Bedford-focused and committed to unbiased, accurate information.
As Founders we were motivated by appreciation for our Bedford community and a commitment to accurate local news and information. Each of us had been active in the Bedford League of Women Voters when a strong volunteer force meant that one League member would attend each major town board and report back to the membership. We knew that an understanding of the work of the Town helped citizens be informed voters and encouraged many to serve on boards and committees. We believe this is essential to the quality of this small town that we value.
The Citizen is still growing, still evolvingWe are adding the ability for readers to select the ways they want the Bedford Citizen delivered whether via email, with a weekly summary or by simply going to the web address.We have improved the Comments process. Our growing team of volunteers has allowed us to expand our reporting to include local schools, school sports, and Bedford weather. We continue to welcome new volunteers.
The Bedford Citizen is entirely run by volunteers with no paid staff. Our 13-member Board of Directors (https://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/about/) offers guidance, approves our policies and provides a broader reach into the community.
We are working on our bylaws and will apply for 501c3 IRS nonprofit status. So far our initial expenses have been covered by generous donations from a few readers.
We celebrate this milestone and remain committed to providing excellent citizen journalism to the Bedford community. We extend a warm “thank you” to all, workers, readers and contributors, who have helped the Bedford Citizen become a reality.