August 24, 2009

Notes on RacinePost ...

As we continue to develop our new home (see progress here), Pete and I have been thinking a lot about advertising, news, comments and generally our hopes for RacinePost's future. In a simple sense, our hope is RacinePost continues to add readers, expand coverage and become a successful little business. Soon we'll be rolling out a new advertising rate card, new sections for stories and several additional features we hope will connect with readers while making our operation more efficient and robust.

But there's another aspect to RacinePost I'd like to do a better job of sharing. We really do exist to support and help the Racine area community. Our top priority is to celebrate local success by publishing accomplishments, promoting local businesses, covering interesting stories and showcasing the people, places and events that make Racinians proud. But we're not big enough (at least not yet) to do it on our own. We need your help.

But before I get into asking a favor, a diversion on local media. It seems a community news source (be it a paper, radio station, website, magazine, TV station) is only as useful as its ability to inform and connect its readers. If RacinePost isn't reporting timely, helpful material for people in the Racine area there's no reason for the site to exist. Anything else is simply stealing for personal gain, which is not a sustainable model for a business that relies heavily on public participation for support.

For example, publishers around the country are making money publishing the mugshots of people arrested in their community. Like pornography, it's popular, lucrative and entirely legal (even without the people arrested having gone to trial, or even having been charged). But also like pornography it's bankrupt of common decency and adds little to the community (other than reinforcing negative stereotypes and scaring people away).

This is a different view than almost all media companies, which exist to make money first, second and third. Supporting community may fall within their Top 50 priorities, but that's not entirely clear.

Here's an example. While I worked for the JT, a circulation director would sit in on story planning meetings and direct us to make murders, fires, robberies and any other big crime story the top story on the front page. Why? Because they'd sell a few hundred more copies of papers in stores and out of paper boxes. While I'm not longer on the inside, little from the outside appears to have changed at the JT in the past two years. (To be fair, many people at the JT see the same problems I'm describing and would like to see changes. But the newspaper culture, which dates back decades, is simply too strong for anyone to re-wire.)

RacinePost is trying a different approach. We're all for making money, but it's not our reason for existence. We're much, much more interested in doing everything we can to help local businesses, organizations, events and people succeed. Our goal is to tell as many people as possible about the great, interesting, important and exciting things happening in the Racine area. If you're a business, we want to know about every event, product, story and success you have. If you're a nonprofit, we want to know what you need to continue doing your work. It's the same for every church, school, group, club, sports league, etc., etc.

Here's where we need your help. If you share interesting, wonderful stories with us, we can share them with thousands of people, who hopefully will pass the word on to thousands of more people. Hopefully, if we stick at this long enough, these are the stories that will become the "news of the day" - and the foundation for new ideas, growth and success to emerge.

Let me end with specifics. If you know any place where people are having fun, we'd love to hear about it. If you know a business that is doing impressive work, please, let us know. If you know of an upcoming event that people should attend, send it over. If you know a local story that will inspire others, let's share it together.

I'll come back to this theme from time to time, but if you'd like to start today, our email address is: We'll do everything we can to include your stories on the site.


  1. If your going to truly crowd source stories like suggests two things the crowd will want the crime and will not want the politics you pitch. The politics might fly in an editorial area but not front page.

  2. Any way to cut back on the "anonymous" chatter. The ability to comment endlessly on everything (not just here) doesn't seem to elevate the level of discussion or contribute to constructive thinking.

    Signed, Anonymous

  3. Be sure that all posters agree with the Post is critical.

  4. Is it necessary to allow posting of anonymous comments or for that matter comments at all except for well written opinion pieces? I think that the poisonous anonymous opinions appeal only to a select minority of the readers and are so repellent that many more simply avoid the online news.
    But, simply eliminating anonymous commentary will make a huge improvement in the quality of the comments.

  5. So Lawrence - without your last name, you are anonymous also. So I guess your posts should be eliminated also - that was really a stupid comment on your part.

  6. Sometimes if I am going to write something truthful but secret I don't want my name involved. I will send it anonymous. I don't want repercussions if I name a place or person. Other than that I would gladly put my name on these comments.

  7. Anonymous and Damn Proud of it!8/24/2009 5:02 PM

    Sassa, what's your last name?? That is assuming that Sassa is your real first name. You people sound ignorant. We are in Racine I guess..........

  8. Incredible. I thought the commentators on the RJT site were bad. Atb least the comments mechanism on this site actually works, so you are way ahead of the new RJT site.

  9. I noticed that EVERY blogger here that uses a name is just as anonymous as those using the "Anonymous" title. Not one of them displays a last name or an email address where they can be contacted. What hypocrites!

  10. I find that reading ALL of the postings to be quite entertaining. Some people show common sense, others show their stupidity. Some show their over-the-top hard core right wing extremes while others seem to be more moderate and yet other seem to be extreme left wing Marxists. I especially like it when aldermen and other politicians log in and voice their opinions. It helps me decide who to, or not to, vote for in upcoming elections. I can truly understand those on the extreme right and left opting to use "Anonymous" and not wanting to use their names because of possible repercussions. If I were to say something extremely bad about the mayor, or an alderman, or a state rep, I certainly wouldn't want someone with that kind of power targeting me to retaliate. So please, Pete & Dustin, don't eliminate the Anonymous option, in many cases it is the only safe way for some to voice their opinions.

  11. The alternative to anonymous is putting your true first and last names. You cannot continue to be called racinehottie. That is no better than an anonymous post. I bet very few comment anymore when that happens.

    If you are going to allow silly nicknames I hope these nutters know that people can sign up for endless amounts of silly nick name accounts so nothing is really being changed.

    I just skim through the comments reading the ones I feel like reading. Works for me.

    Plus these guys just delete comments here and there. So nothing stops them from getting rid of comments and stacking the comments how they see fit. It is not an honest reflection of the feelings of the people who read it. Don't take it too seriously.

  12. Anon, 12:00 writes: "...These guys just delete comments here and there. So nothing stops them from getting rid of comments and stacking the comments how they see fit."

    That is absolutely untrue; surely, you can see that merely from reading the comments themselves, which are all over the spectrum. The chief reason we delete specific comments is to remove profanity.

  13. Anonymous 8/24/2009 4:10 PM

    Click on the name link!

  14. I have been using my real name here for a long time. And I have been commenting to eliminate the Anonymous option for almost as long and signing my name to it.

    This practice adds little in the way of constructive feedback, provides no accountability, eliminates responsibility and does little positive for our community. So, if you really want to improve our community then stop using these Anonymous comments.

    There certainly appears to be consensus against Anonymous feedback finally. The only ones who really want them to continue are the ones who are merely looking to be entertained. And they even say so in this comment area. Does that really help Racine and its surrounding areas? Not even close.

    If Pete or Dustin are honest about their views in this article then they have no choice but to eliminate Anonymous feedback of any kind. However, if they keep it then they speak with forked tongue and only wish to increase readership by providing entertainment value. Actions will certainly speak louder than words. It will be interesting to see what happens. Racine and the surrounding certainly deserves better.

    Rees Roberts

  15. Rees Roberts8/25/2009 1:22 PM

    It appears when you preview your comments and then click on the edit button the selection you make to choose your name or Anonymous does not stay. In any case you have my name at the bottom of the comment I made.

  16. Anon 4:10, don't bother clicking on Lawrence Brown, it's no better than Anonymous. There's no information about him, and in particular, no way to email him to face off. I use Racine Resident as a moniker on here just so that every Tom, Dick & Harry doesn't know who I am, but by clicking on my moniker there is recourse to email me directly. That is what truly makes me NOT anonymous.

  17. Na Na Na Na Na Na! Oh grow up! Quit bickering. We all have pet peeves (like the lazy people who can't fix their typos, and the dummies who flunked 2nd grade English), but complaining is counter-productive. Use a moniker, so we can tell one another apart.

  18. I've had comments deleted and they did not contain any profanity at all. They were merely my opinion of particular people. It depends on whether Dustin/Pete agree with my opinions.

  19. "Anonymous said...

    I've had comments deleted and they did not contain any profanity at all. They were merely my opinion of particular people. It depends on whether Dustin/Pete agree with my opinions.