What is Macon Community News?

First color issue of Macon Community News
Closeup of the first color issue of the Macon Community News. The print edition has been retired and replaced by an online-only edition. Photo by Doug Deal.

After getting back into the flow of writing articles since our re-launch on Saturday July 9, 2016, I wanted to write something about my goal for this online new blog and the background of why we started it.

To put it quite frankly, the Macon Telegraph is horrible. Much of the division in our community stems, in my opinion, from the editorial slant of the paper of record. Not even the blatant politics of the publication, but the tendency that they seem to have of publishing articles to get people angry with each other.

We do not need more reasons to view people as simple members of a group who should be judged and viewed by their worst actors. We do not need for every report about the happenings in the community to be steeped in a racial animus. Finally, we do not need a negative sinister tone to every story about things happening in the community.

Every time I read a story from the local print paper, the world seems like it is falling apart and they profit from it because such stories that pit us against each other raise page views. It is bad for us and it is irresponsible.

So, I made the decision that I would try to do something different and instead of boxing people into some group and pitting them against other groups, I wanted to create a news source that would cut out the editorial slant, the negativity and the need to stir up controversy. There is no greater truth in a negative story than a positive one, but a positive story helps us to feel good about our community and gives us a sense of pride in everything around us. Instead of being complacent in seeing things become run down and expecting failure, we begin to expect success. This is called hope and it is something the major local newspaper does its best to quash in our communities because it is more profitable to their out-of-town masters.

Don’t get me wrong, this does not mean that this tiny project is a competitor to the Telegraph. There is no comparison. The Telegraph spends more on emptying their trash cans for a day than we spend on this project for a year. This online newspaper is to serve that niche of people who are tired of the constant drumbeat of negativity that works to drown out whatever positive is happening in middle Georgia. It is likely a small minority, but that is okay. People who want to be angry and outraged can always go to macon.com and find something to make them mad at someone else. We want no part in it.

What is Macon Community News? We are people who think that print media is desperate and failing and that local news can best be shared by those making it, the members of the community. Why should your news be filtered through gatekeepers who have their own agenda when you can write you can submit your own story and have it shared for anyone to read?  Why have your news as a second thought on the back page of some interior section behind wire stories that every newspaper prints when you can have your local news have the spotlight equally with all the others?

We also want to make the site more conversational and less artificially stilted than traditional news. Journalism is really a misnomer these days. Papers are not writing academic works that will be bound in a journal to be a historical record of things to future scholars. No, they write content to sell ads. Period. End of story. We will not pretend there is more to it than that, but as you can see, this site isn’t mostly ads like most informational websites. Our main purpose is to provide news that WE want to read which cannot be found anywhere.

If you think this mission is worthwhile and valuable, you can help us in many ways. The most important is to give us stories to share. Write something, preferably 250 words or more, take a picture and ask the important questions, “Who? What? Where? Why? and How?” and send everything to us. We will edit it to meet our editorial style and post it, if it is something that will benefit the Macon and Middle Georgia community.

Also, we can write the story for you. Just let us know what it is and who to talk to. No story is too small, as long as it highlights something about Macon and Middle Georgia or the someone who is making a positive difference.

If you own a business, we would love to post a profile. Just let us know and give us that contact information.

Next, sharing our articles on Facebook is huge for us. If you find something interesting, share it and tag someone you think will benefit from it. Comment on our posts and let us know what you think. Not only does this increase our reach, it also encourages those who wrote the story to contribute more.

Finally, don’t let yourself get caught up in the negativity that permeates so much of what goes on around us these days. There is hope and decency, but as I have long believed, you find what you are looking for. Stop looking for the bad and you will start finding the good in everything around you.

I hope you enjoy what we have to offer.

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