Monday, April 01, 2013

Welcome to the internet tubes, Casper Citizen

The Casper Citizen went live at 5:30 p.m. MDT.

According to a press release:
Civic and corporate leaders and professional journalists have joined to provide a free public platform to connect the people of Casper and surrounding areas and engage them on issues, programs and activities that make their lives better.

"Journalism is meant to educate, inform, bring us together, help us be better community members," said Deirdre Stoelzle Graves, the founding director. "This new media venture combines community input with journalistic expertise to make an online site that's by and for the community."

Designed by Russell Weller, with photos from Tim Kupsick, The Casper Citizen highlights arts and entertainment, health and wellness, food and travel, and news and opinion by and for the people of Casper. Its easy-to-use online framework will connect community members with one another around activities and issues that increase social opportunities and volunteerism. The Citizen's professional journalists will develop and train contributors in emerging media to help them report with ethics and compassion on people and issues in Casper.

Editor-in-Chief Kerry Drake said the venture is the next frontier of journalism, the culmination of a longer-term trend in the industry, with downsizing, layoffs and newspaper closures forcing local journalists to find better ways to serve their communities.

"Incorporating as a nonprofit sends a message that local journalism's commitment is to its community," Drake said. "Free and unbiased reporting that accurately and ethically informs is critical to democracy and social well-being."

The Citizen plans to host community discussion forums, provide project and program support, highlight innovation and recognize community heroes and acts of kindness. 
The first issue tackled by the Citizen is the attempted reversal of the smoking ban by the Casper City Council. Something's apparently in the Casper water supply, making normally clear-thinking citizens want to abandon the present and inhabit the dim, dark past. The Citizen points out that after Cheyenne passed its smoking ban, a group of disgruntled smokers tried to get enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot. But they fell short and, guess what, bar patrons got used to the smoke-free environs and liked it. Something about eating and drinking without inhaling clouds of toxic smoke. Bar employees were able to work in a smoke-free environment, thereby avoiding high-risk exposure to lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease.

Good for the Citizen for bringing some attention to this issue.

Kerry Drake is an able editor and a fine writer. His columns for Wyofile have illuminated some of the shadier dealings of the Wyoming Legislature.

Go, Citizen, go!

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