Opinion

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Hub in its place

by Anne Finlay-Stewart

When I was invited to write for the Owen Sound Hub in 2013, I had no idea what a perfect remedy it would be for the long funk that had settled over me after a fire destroyed both the reality and the future of Around the Sound Local Food Market.

The story of how I came to own the Owen Sound Hub is one I'm happy to tell over a beer. I'll even buy. Short version – it was an election year – the federal election of 2015 – and I believed that the Owen Sound Hub offered some possibilities for engagement that other media could not.

Here we are in an election year again, and life at the Owen Sound Hub has been like one of those amusement park rides that allow only the briefest moments for catching your breath and looking around before the spin and rumble begin again.

We've come to something of a crossroads, and perhaps that is the best time to pause for thought, and look for the collective wisdom of our community on questions we are contemplating.

Is there a better way for readers to take control of their own community news?  Ninety percent of our readers come to a story on the Owen Sound Hub through Facebook.  They are letting Facebook curate their news; seeing only the articles that the algorithm of Mark Zuckerburg et al think they want to see. 

Our rock solid contractor of 3 1/2 years, an experienced journalist who learned quickly, did most of the things I did not want to, caught my mistakes, found beautiful (free) images for our stories and almost never asked me to second guess myself – has taken a full-time position at which she will be fabulous. We, however, are bereft.

Our IT guy and general all-round jack of all trades has stepped nobly into the breech, but he has other responsibilities too and must keep the virtual wheels greased. 

As we fill out our staff, what skills should we be looking for?

The Hub has incredible potential – we have a robust platform and many (many) future story leads and ideas – Hub live events, a weekly news blast, a periodic “Hub in the Hand” print edition, a podcast.  Are there people who want to make these things happen?

We love the opportunity to help people who are building community here by amplifying their voices, particularly those who are not often heard in traditional media or circles of power.  How can we bring more of those people to our editorial table?

Recently we realized that the to-do pile was so high that we could never reach the bottom. Notes from interviews, events and meetings that had never been made into articles. Research and fact-checking that must be complete before we can hit “publish”.  It all takes people.  Maybe even a village.

We are not looking for a new list of “you shoulds"; we're looking for people who could see themselves as part of the Owen Sound Hub. Stop me on the street, or email me at [email protected]

source: publisher's desk

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