The newspaper business has changed plenty since I walked into 491 Main some 18 years ago. No longer do writers peck away at their stories and columns, then wait a couple of days to see if anyone responds via mail.
Today, a word written at 9 a.m. can be on the Web by 9:30 a.m., and readers will often sound off before 9:35. That’s a good thing. It keeps us on our toes. And it has helped turn newspaper websites into virtual communities, where every person who wants to make a comment (as long as they’re responsible) can jump up on their cybersoapbox and shout as loud as they want.
Another way to foster that sense of community and to create more dialogue is through blogs. Many of the best blogs inform and entertain — and in some cases, enrage. A newspaper’s blogs also give it the ability to share far more information than would be possible in printed editions.
Simply put, adding blogs to a newspaper website is like adding a few dozen extra pages to the print edition each day. That, too, is a good thing.
That’s why I’m happy to announce the launch of my own BDN Outdoor blog, which we’re calling “Out There.” Friends who know me best have told me that’s a pretty appropriate title. I don’t think they necessarily mean that in a good way, but that’s a topic for another day… or something to explore in the blog.
In “Out There,” you’ll find essays, observations and an occasional rant. Some will be in column form, similar to what you’ll see in the newspaper. Much, however, will be different.
Among the differences: When I write a column and readers choose to blast me in the comments section of our website, I’m of the opinion that I ought to sit back and let them do so. I don’t typically respond to reader comments for a simple reason: I had my say. The comments section is their chance to fire back.
With “Out There,” the dynamic will be a bit different. I’ll engage you. You’ll engage me. There will be more give-and-take. I don’t plan to argue, but I will be more apt to respond… especially if readers ask me to do so.
You can find “Out There” at outthere.bangordailynews.com. In the near future, we’ll launch a fresh blog addition from BDN reporter Aislinn Sarnacki, who will take you along on her frequent outdoor adventures. I hope you’ll visit her blog, too, and let us know what you think.
Let us know what you want us to do more of. What you want less of. How we can better provide content that you want to read, and how we can create an online community that you want to be a part of.
I’ll be waiting. Somewhere. Out There.
Commissioner to speak in Bucksport
Each year the sitting commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife travels across the state, stopping at sporting clubs along the way for what are called “sportsmen’s forums.”
When contentious issues are up for debate, the experience can be unpleasant for that commissioner, who often finds himself in the hot seat in front of a crowd of displeased hunters and anglers. At other times, the forums are more low key.
In any case, the forums are always productive and feature a good exchange of opinion and information.
On Wednesday, current commissioner Chandler Woodcock’s barnstorming tour will arrive in Bucksport, where a forum will be held from 6 until 8 p.m. at the Bucks Mills Rod and Gun Club. In addition to the commissioner, game wardens and biologists will be on hand to discuss hunting, fishing and other outdoor topics.
If you’ve got a burning question you’ve always wanted to ask our state’s fish and game officials, or if you’ve got a suggestion, this is your chance to share it. After a brief opening statement, the forum will be free-flowing, and all questions and concerns will be dealt with.
If you want more information, call 469-2667.