There are two types of people: those who view New Years as an optimistic opportunity for true change and those who live life miserably. It’s far more than just an arbitrary calendar change to me. It’s a chance at something new.
Our most loyal followers noticed something different about this week. There was no podcast and no newsletter. Instead, work has begun on something else. Something significant.
Starting in 2022, the Concurrent is going to take a different approach. It’s not fully going to be a new direction, but rather a return to an early vision of what the idea for the Concurrent originally was.
Longtime readers will recognize the term “news aggregator” to describe this outlet. The initial idea was to compile all the news stories about Citrus County written in publications that didn’t require a subscription such as most local television affiliates and some statewide blogs.
Unfortunately, this idea never materialized because there just weren’t that many reporters covering our area so not a lot of news outside the Chronicle was produced.
A lot changed in a year. Citrus has always had blogs and upstart publications but the back half of 2021 seemed to give rise to several and now more local content is being produced than ever before. The aggregator idea is finally viable.
If you’re familiar with some of the media I’m referring to, then this idea of reposting their stories may be troubling. Why lend credibility to some people who are looking to agitate rather than educate?
It’s a question I’ve contemplated for a long time, and I’m not sure that I have the right answer.
But I do have what I believe to be a solution: humor.
The Concurrent will publish its own purposefully sensationalized headline of stories from around the county, link to the original story in the post and write a paragraph or two summarizing the story with an emphasis on humor that will always be available for free.
This won’t always be laugh out loud funny. The goal is more to critique the absurdity of the system than it is to go for a punchline. It will be entertaining and informative; the entire local conversation about news in our county in one place.
There’s a second question that comes to mind when thinking through this new direction. Isn’t it a betrayal toward those who have been with us the longest? Those who understand and appreciate that the Concurrent as a thinking publication that rises above the noise?
These twice-weekly columns will continue. In 11 months, I have never missed a written publication day nor have I ever exceeded 750 words. This is the core of the Concurrent.
It will, however, become paywalled for $26/year. This is an odd amount on the surface but my quick mathematicians will see 104 columns a year means this is $0.25 per column.
“You said it would always be free,” my wife reminded me when I floated the idea by her. She’s right and the aggregated content will always be free.
The mission of the Concurrent is to provide news about local government to everyone for free in easily consumable multimedia mobile forms. The harsh truth which should have been obvious from the beginning is that 750-word columns about behavior psychology theory don’t have much mass appeal. Because I believe in the mission to be a resource to educate the masses, I have to adapt the approach to a form more appealing to a broader audience.
I also have to adjust the ability to make this a self-sustaining business into what makes sense. Advertising works to fund mass appeal content but subscriptions are better suited to niche content. And you, dear reader, are a niche content consumer. Your good taste has priced you out of free.
If you love the columns but don’t want to pay, I understand. Free print editions will still be available at our distribution points and will include all the columns from the previous month for you to catch up on. Home delivery will continue but only for paying subscribers.
The Concurrent built in public in 2021. I have often started blogs only to quit them a couple weeks later. Not with this. The columns have been the epitome of consistency for 96 consecutive posts.
If this is goodbye, I sincerely appreciate your past readership. For those who believe in the mission for a quarter per column, thank you for your continued support. Happy New Year to all.