Ten Years of Community Journalism: Where We Go From Here

Ten Years of Community Journalism: Where We Go From Here

(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 9, 2019)

Ferndale, MI – The Oakland County Times began a decade ago with the launch of The Ferndale One-Fifteen News.  This online magazine came out on the first and fifteenth of each month for a couple of years before making the step up to a daily publication. From there we’ve added on neighboring cities, and a test market community of Holly where we’ve run a successful marketing program to attract visitors to the area while providing much-needed journalistic coverage.

The need for quality local news is evident in the decline in print publication staffing, and in the discontent seen on social media.  Residents are becoming more aware of happenings in their neighborhoods and governments, but sources for credible, verified information can be hard to come by.

We all know that journalism is changing.  And we’re proud of the way Oakland County Times has been able to create our own path in the midst of all the problems, challenges, and opportunities in this profession.

This is an effort that happens because of the help and support of many people. Everyone that answers questions, shares photos, sends tips, shares stories, joins our Readers Club, etc. deserves credit for the successes we have had.  This truly is a community effort, and every day I’m grateful for all the pieces that come together to make a website that truly reflects the spirit of our community.

I’m proud of Oakland County Times, but I also can see what this site will be in the future.  So I am always working ahead of where we’re at.  As we continue to refine the Event Page process, we continue to bring more communities into the mix.  This slow and natural growth has worked well for us even without using click bait or drama to increase readership. People are here because they want a comfortable place to feel good about their communities, while also being informed.

There are some expenses on the horizon.  The website needs some fixing, as well as a complete update.  The laptop is getting old. The camera for candidate interviews will need replacing soon.  The car is about to hit 250,000 miles but has so many problems it may not even make that.

Plus there are more cheerful expenses to consider, like FOIA fees and money to pay our freelance writers.  Having freelance writers means more news and community coverage for you. Our hope is to add on part time data entry and sales help in the coming year, so reporters have more time for investigative journalism and the kinds of stories you don’t get anywhere else.  We are also building our Resource Page, and providing guides like the Explore section and the Reporter Food section so readers can have ideas for expanding their horizons.

Our Readers Club is a great way for people to chip in to this effort. For as little as $5 per month you are entered into our monthly drawing.  For $15 or more per month, you get a thank you on the website as well as the drawing entry.  Our website is free and accessible to all, with fewer ads than other sites, because it is supported by readers like you.  Here is where you can sign up: http://oaklandcounty115.com/oc-times-readers-club/

We also have business sponsorships available.

More info: http://oaklandcounty115.com/sponsorshipadvertising/

In the coming week we will be doing stories that explain our website features and our work more. There are many parts to this site people many not realize, such as our resource page, our event page, and our municipal employment page. We also want to make time to look back at the exciting and important stories of the past decade.  We have to get better at celebrating our successes and showcasing the ways that this project continues to grow and serve the needs of the community.  So, more to come.  Thanks everyone for an amazing ten years, and I hope to have you on board for the next ten!

About the author

Oakland County Times has written 10772 articles for Oakland County Times

The Oakland County Times started with one city in 2009 and has grown to the community news hub you see today. Contact editor@oc115.com if you have any questions, comments, event listings, etc. Please support this work by becoming an advertising sponsor or check out our online community garden. Also happy to hear tips and story ideas.

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