“Journalism,” Matthew Arnold said, “is literature in a hurry.”
I can remember in my youth scrambling to write articles to meet some impending daily deadline, peering desperately at increasingly obscure notes, feeling the impatient eyes of the editor on my neck as the clock ticked remorselessly forward. My fingers seems to keep finding the wrong keys, I couldn’t be sure how to spell even common words like “occurred” and “necessary.”
Those pressure-packed nerve-wracking times … ah, the good old days!
Now, the idea of a daily deadline seems quaint and measured. Newswriting and reporting are like laundry; as soon as you finish one batch you jump on the next task; all day (nearly), every day (certainly). This is the world of journalism in August of 2017.
Which also happens to be the one-year anniversary of the launching of our new news-site, the Orange County Tribune. A mere 52 weeks ago we pitched ourselves back into the business, art and hobby of providing accounts of the happenings in the cities of Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Westminster and sometimes a bit beyond. It’s time to pause – just for a moment – and reflect.
As many of you know, we operated the old Garden Grove Journal newspaper for nearly 30 years before selling it in 2013 to Freedom Communications (also known as The Orange County Register). The deal included a non-compete agreement that sidelined us for three years.
That restraint only outlasted the Journal by a few months; the GGJ perished in March 2016 and the Trib emerged in August.
How are we doing? Pretty well, I think, and can certainly do better. Since its launching, we’ve had over 100,000 views and over 70,000 visitors. We’ve posted 1,388 stories, which is pretty good for a news operation with no employees, just one stringer and a couple of volunteers.
The brave new world of electronic newsgathering and publishing has freed us from the schedule and expense of maintaining (or paying for) a printing plant and the distribution of a perishable paper product. Anyone who has an internet connection can read and view what we do. While the vast majority of our readers come from the U.S.A., we also get “hits” from Mexico, Canada, Ireland, Vietnam and even France.
We’ve got people at meetings of local city councils, at community and regional theater, and at high school football games. We review movies and comment and give advice on matters large and small, from national politics to what your cat is really up to.
We hope you enjoy and appreciate what we do, which is mostly from a love of both community and journalism, both of which are imperfect but worthy of our attention and support.
If you also think that we’re doing is mostly useful and positive, you can help us with this electronic mirror which we hope reflects (more or less accurately) what’s going on in our hometowns. Here’s what you can do.
- Suggest a story idea about an interesting person or team or business.
- Submit information about your group’s activities, honors and personalities.
- If you’re a local business consider advertising (our rates are stunningly affordable) to reach a growing audience for pennies a day.
- If you’re a budding (or retired) journalist or photographer consider an internship or volunteer relationship with the Trib.
- If you’re a coach or parent with a local high school athletic team, send results of games, matches and meets to us. We’d love to have them.
On any of the above points, contact us at email@example.com.
I know we’re all in a hurry these days. But we at the Tribune are especially hastening to make a positive difference for our readers and cities. We want to bloom where we are planted. We’d love your help.
Jim Tortolano started writing Retorts in February 1969. He plans on continuing until he gets it right.