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January 21, 2006

Creeping Slowly Back to Life

As our faithful readers and members already know, I and my colleague Michelle Chen decided to join the PeoplesNetWorks Collective a little more than a week ago, a move that we (all of PNW) earnestly hope makes The NewStandard stronger and better than before. We already offered a brief preview of our upcoming (for lack of a better word) re-launch, and we’ve discussed and decided on a number of other things for the near future that will hopefully draw our readership into the newsmaking and reporting process further.

One of those things seemed so simple at the time – more blogging by the whole group–and the other day Brian made the perfectly applicable suggestion, a sort of "why I decided good wages and free time aren’t for me right now," or something of the sort. Yet somehow, the very idea of blogging more seems so much harder now that I have more say over the future and direction of TNS. I mean, how much should we be saying here outside of the format of a news article?

Really, I’m wondering and would like to know what our readers think. While we shan’t go down the pontificating path, it would be nice to know what you guys would like to see in this blog space. And conversations about our materials are always welcome.

Right now, we generally reserve the blog for discussing media coverage of our core issue areas and what’s going on with the collective and TNS. Oh, and Brian has, on a couple occasions (most noticeably here), stepped over the line, but hey, can you blame him?

Anyway, in thinking about putting down why I went and joined this project as a fully (well, 2/3 for now) vested member, I’m struck by one simple thing–what the hell else would I be doing as worthwhile as building a populist sort of hard news organization with three others as (should be) committed as myself? And besides, who else would make the mistake of hiring someone with my portfolio as a reporter? Somehow I don’t think articles about the effects of poverty, workplace safety and consumer rights are hot commodities these days. Certainly the AP or similar wire services wouldn’t pick up my services as a "brief" (or nonbrief, as the others would have it) writer, nor would most "respectable" dailies give space to information refuting the popular wisdom that segregation is a problem of the past.

And forget about the "alt-weekly" genre; there’s only so much snark and entertainment suffocating the real news I can stand before tossing [insert your local weekly, ’cause they’re all largely the same] across the room.

So please, feel free to talk to us through the comment space here. We’re looking for feedback as we prepare to rollout the new site design and implement new features (by the way, anyone know a good, not widely-known editorial cartoonist looking for another space to post their wares?). And thanks for bearing with me through this post as I work past my new-found jitters.


abcde06: Creeping Slowly Back to Life

Personally, I really like the blog entries. And I'm always looking for a new one when I come to the site. I wish there were more. As long as it's not taking significant resources away from the Hard News, a blog is a blog, and I don't think it detracts from the rest of the site. Particularly on this site, where blog entries seem to take a relatively critical, professional tone.

brendan_coyne: Creeping Slowly Back to Life

Just thought I should note that the article on segregation is Michelle Chen's, who, I assume, is now in a situation much like my own, wherein establishment publications are unlikely to look kindly upon her portfolio. I don't think I was clear on that in the original post.

Michelle Chen: Creeping Slowly Back to Life

Yep, thanks Brendan, for making it crystal clear that we've both officially screwed our future prospects as journalists in the "mainstream" media. Good to know that I'm not in this alone.

Anyway, as I've said time and time again (to myself, at 5am in the morning, staring at my computer monitor with crusty eyelids and five grams of caffeine coursing through my veins), better to be underappreciated than overrated.

Honestly, with so many mealy-mouthed suckers willing to bite the dust in the corporate hierarchy, we might as well put ourselves to good use elsewhere. And I'm glad there are at least around 700 awesome people in the world who tend to agree. Here's to 2006.

vingtetun: Creeping Slowly Back to Life

I enjoy the blog space as a place to catch up on what's going on inside PeoplesNetWorks. The openess about internal organization is a great thing to see. I think "self promotion" is fine for this space as well. It's good to know who cares enough about real news to ask you onto their show. Other than that, I like the idea of guest bloggers to attract interest and spice things up.

curtis_cooper: Creeping Slowly Back to Life

In addition to the outlooks, triumphs and tribulations of the NewStandard's very small, remarkable staff, which one gets from the blog entries, the replies from readers can give a sense of where others, who are very well-informed, are coming from. A nice proactive addition to the role of consumer for subscribers.

lucymoira: Creeping Slowly Back to Life

The Blog adds a dimension to the New Standard that is unprecedented in mainstream news, thus guaranteeing more free flowing, unbiased & informative reading for your audience. This glimpse into what makes the staff tick is very welcomed by this reader. It legitmizes your writing/opinions. Thanks!

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.