By now you've noticed there's been yet more changes to the site since before the holidays.
For the last year, year and a half I tried to make this site a source of news for the community. I wanted to make this a reliable news page, I really did. But the cold hard facts are that as a largely one man operation, it's all but impossible to make that happen. Unless one is willing to simply repost the daily police/ arrest reports... you know, the ones you're having read to you on the 6 o'clock news?
I know, I know, bad news and arrest reports are what sells. But frankly I've grown sick of reporting it. There's a lot of good stuff going on out there in the community, things that people are interested in and aren't hearing about in more than a 20 second sound bite if they're lucky. However getting that information is difficult unless one is out in the community every day knocking on doors, attending events, etc. and then coming home, typing it all out and posting it online to be read. In my experience, by the time a single story is researched, typed out, and posted, it could be a couple hours worth of work. For ONE original story. That's a lot for one person to do in between a regular job, family obligations and all.
So keep that nugget of info with you as I move on to the next problem.
So once the story is posted, and a link provided on social media to alert people to the fact there is something new, it's very hit or miss whether they bother to read it or not. Many times they will comment on the headline without ever actually clicking the link to read the story.
As an example, the story we broke on the return of Briggs Beer in July took a total of four hours to produce, from meeting with the owner to releasing the story. It was shared numerous times on social media and was widely shared. However only a fraction of those people actually ever came to the site to read it. ( I don't have the numbers in front of me at this time, but suffice it to say that the numbers were dismally disappointing. )
For the past year I've managed to remain hopeful that eventually the public would change how they want to receive their news. That eventually they'd want more than a 20 second sound bite or a click bait headline that they can make a snarky comment about and scroll past. I'd hoped eventually the site would become financially able to hire someone to get those in depth news stories and commentary. But it's been five, almost six years since this website was established, even longer for it's predecessor, News From Town which eventually merged here. I've hung in there, kept plugging away while other projects sat on the back burner, but social trends haven't changed and show no signs of doing so anytime soon.
It's very frustrating. And at the risk of sounding like a jerk, I've got other things to do folks. Those back burner projects deserve more attention than I've given.
So for that reason I've done away with the "Front Page" section. Additionally, the ElmiraTelegram.com Facebook page has been deactivated and stored under a separate account name. There's at least a dozen other Elmira themed Facebook groups and pages on there these days and it only served to create more work updating and monitoring.
We're going back to basics around here, returning to a discussion forum where people can have a civil discourse about a wide variety of news and issues without having to deal with the ignorance and rancor that's all too prevalent on social media. Additionally, what I consider to be the gem of this site, always and forever, the Community Voices section, will remain and I always hope that maybe someone new will come along to join the talented writers who have contributed to the site, some for nearly seven years now!
I hope you'll enjoy the site, especially with the addition of the "Rurlife.com" section, brought here in the hopes of promoting family farming as well as helping those who want to try getting their hands in the dirt for the first time. Or manure, whatever.
The strength of any message board/ forum isn't the admin, it's in the the contribution made by you the member. I encourage you to contribute your thoughts and weigh in on ideas posted by others. Otherwise it's just me posting a bunch of weird stuff, and who wants to read that?
As always, I welcome any input or ideas.