Dan De Federicis is joining us to write a weekly column. You may know Dan from his blog, “Fun in Saratoga.” For some time he has been writing his regular observations about the comings and goings of businesses, and his general observations about life in Saratoga Springs. Now he’ll be doing the same thing for Saratoga Wire.
As you’ll see, we’ve given Dan pretty free reign to write as he wishes. We’re looking forward to see what he comes up with each week.
Dan's column will regularly appear Fridays on Saratoga Wire.
Yes, that’s right. Saratoga Wire may not be a newspaper in the traditional sense, but in the 21st century this web site is the future version of a daily periodical. And, as you can see here, it’s been up and running for almost three weeks now.
Saratoga Wire posted more than 90 local stories about Saratoga Springs in its first two weeks alone, and it continues to build with even more articles and information every day. I should also note that Saratoga Wire has achieved notable early success in attracting advertisers – you know – those folks that pay the bills. I believe this site will soon have a great effect on not just the Saratoga online community – but to overall media coverage in Saratoga as well. Although the founders of Saratoga Wire intend it to be more than a traditional news and information outlet, I think it’s important to note that Saratoga Springs is now a two newspaper town.
Let me write a bit about Saratoga’s “other” newspaper. You know, the one with that’s been around for 150+ years and has offices (at present, anyway) on Lake Avenue. Like many, I was once a Saratogian hater, but I’ve come to appreciate and respect what Barbara Lombardo and her underpaid staff accomplish 365 days a year, with, in my view, limited leadership and support from the parent Journal Register Company. Despite my positive feelings towards Saratoga Springs’ traditional daily, it still falls short in some areas. The turnover in some key reporting positions there, including business reporter and Sports Editor, which has seen many comings and goings in the past two years, is disconcerting and certainly at least partly the result of shamelessly low salaries.
So, is Saratoga Wire going to run the Saratogian out of town? No, and I don’t want it to. But is Saratoga Wire going to keep the Saratogian more honest, and force reporters to hustle more, look at both sides of a story, and consistently investigate, find opposing views, and actually dig? As a matter of fact, yes – and Saratoga Wire has already scooped the Saratogian on several articles. Just as the local blogs have changed, at least in a small way, how the Saratogian gathers and posts timely information, I believe Saratoga Wire will change the Saratogian and force it to improve – in a much bigger way.
You will notice in the “about” section of Saratoga Wire’s site the following description:
Saratoga Wire represents a return to the values of media as a community trust. Our main platform--this website--is meant to bring people together online and offline. Saratoga Wire is a source of information and inspiration, as well as a place where many voices and ideas can be heard. We answer to you.
If Saratoga Wire was run by some faceless out-of-town corporation, I’d look at that mission statement and say “Yea, right”. But it’s not run by a distant and anonymous group of people. Saratoga Wire was founded and is run by Dale Willman and Jonathan Greene - two intelligent, sincere, and hard-working, Saratoga Springs visionaries who truly believe they can deliver on the above statement. They need some help, and they need some support, but I believe they will get it done. Incidentally, they did not ask me to write about this topic – this was my choice – and in fact they also asked me to remove much more glowing thoughts on just who Jonathan and Dale are.
They also signed on two writers that I have great respect for: Tom Dimopoulos, formerly of the Post-Star newspaper, and Brendan O’Meara, a former Saratogian reporter who wrote a book in 2011 about Rachel Alexandra’s 2009 Saratoga Season entitled “Six Weeks in Saratoga. How Three-Year-Old Filly Rachel Alexandra Beat the Boys and Became Horse of the Year”. An incredibly handsome and brilliant Saratoga Springs blogger (that would be me – just play along with the handsome and brilliant comment ) will also be contributing regularly. I’ll be doing a weekly commentary that will be some sort of cross between my periodic “Saratoga Thoughts” posts on my Funsaratoga.com blog, and the weekly whinings of America’s favorite curmudgeon, the late Andy Rooney of CBS’ “60 Minutes”. The aforementioned are just a few of the many writers and other supporters that will be contributing to Saratoga Wire.
So that is one guy’s view of what this new venture is all about and why you should be excited. Your mission is to read this site daily, become engaged, offer feedback, and generally help make Saratoga Wire the community asset it is intended to be. We reap what we sew, so please become more informed and get involved, and you will help us make Saratoga Wire a better community asset and Saratoga Springs an even better place to live and visit. Thank you for reading my initial commentary, and come back soon.
ON THE WIRE