And, lest we be accused of burying the lede, possibly the last.
RacinePost began on Sept. 29, 2007, with Dustin's first post: "Hi and welcome to Racine Post... let's see what happens."
news.racinepost.com, our ancillary blogs have carried another 3,770 or so items: Kiosk event listings, local obituaries, education, Positively Racine and business stories. Not to mention 245 local news haikus, just for fun. Our "front page" on the web, RacinePost.com also has linked to a wide variety of stories about Racine found in media all over the world. And now it's about to end, or at least change.
But fear not; a new alternative online local news source is on the horizon!
Dustin has accepted a great job as a regional editor for Patch, AOL's ambitious $50 million effort to establish hundreds of local news websites around the country. He officially began Monday, but he's been working for a couple of weeks to recruit editors for a dozen new websites, including one for Mount Pleasant and another for Caledonia. (Racine itself is too big for the typical one-man-band Patch website.) Patch created its 100th site in August, and expects to have 500 operating by the end of this year, each run by a full-time local editor. Here's yesterday's Milwaukee Magazine's story about the local Patch initiative.
Dustin was the originator of RacinePost. I offered him pictures from Party on the Pavement a week later, and a week after that joined his effort. We've been working together ever since, although "together" is a misnomer: we're both independent, with different ideas about what's interesting and worth covering. The only way readers can tell who wrote a story is by looking at the "Posted by..." line at the bottom of each post -- and even that sometimes has been misleading, as one or the other of us added to or revised the other's initial post. Meanwhile, Dustin did most of the underlying computer coding. It's been a satisfying partnership.
We've come a long way. Early on, Dustin wrote that RacinePost is "an independent news source dedicated to covering and sharing all news related to Racine. We don't compete with other media in a traditional way. We link to as many stories as possible that relate to Racine, no matter where they appear. If the Journal-Sentinel or Journal Times has a good story, we'll make it the lead on our site just as readily as we'll put our own news on the site. We hope to become the definitive source for news in Racine by compiling all headlines into a single place -- and adding a few of our own along the way!"
Our first pages looked much like the Drudge Report -- no surprise, since Dustin borrowed some of Drudge's coding. Here's one of our earliest pages. (Note our lede story that day in October 2007, about Walker and commuter rail. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.) But soon we found our own look, adding more of our own pictures and stories. We still linked to stories from other media, but the focus was on original reporting whenever possible. Occasionally, we've been critical of the Journal Times -- was a murder suspect's competency hearing really worth most of Page 1 Tuesday (with two pictures... no, actually with the same picture twice) overshadowing the school board's $100 million referendum plans? -- but that's hardly our raison d'être despite our former employment at the JT.
The real fun for us came from meeting many of you, being welcomed into your stories, your events and your lives. We've had an outpouring of support from scores of people we'd never met, and financial support from strangers who liked what we were doing. Thanks are also due to the organizations that shared their news with us, the writers and photographers who contributed their own work to the site, and the advertisers who reached out to our readers, sometimes providing the equivalent of a paycheck to this labor of love.
For the time being -- with Dustin gone and with me unwilling to turn this into a full-time job -- RacinePost.com will begin a partial hibernation. There'll be occasional stories added to our main blog, the Kiosk and Racine Obituaries, but not as many as before. I'm not sure what will happen to our front page; we'll see what the future brings. By all means, check in to see whether we can resist the urge to continue posting.
From both of us, thanks for being a part of RacinePost.
Pete SelkoweDustin Block
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