For several hundred of you, this will be another Sunday column from a publication that you have been reading for months. A couple thousand more readers, however, will likely be picking up a hard copy of the Concurrent out of one of our new distribution boxes for the first time. This will be the Radio Shack of columns because to paraphrase the defunct electronics retailer’s slogan: you may have questions, but don’t worry, because we have answers.
To define what the Concurrent is, let’s start with what it isn’t.
This is not a publication focused solely on delivering as many ads as possible directly to consumers whether you want a copy or not. We never publish sponsored content, meaning stories paid for by advertisers. Those types of publications exist locally, and some are quite good, but that is not us. We’re locally-owned and don’t sell data to advertisers via some out-of-state parent company.
Also, the Concurrent is not a competitor of the Chronicle primarily because it is not a newspaper. We are a multimedia editorial periodical that contextualizes the news for free rather than a print journalism newspaper that reports the news for the price of a subscription.
The difference might feel like that between a tomato and a tom-ah-to but it’s actually quite stark - more like that between a beach’s flock of seagulls and the ‘80s pop band A Flock of Seagulls.
We target three missing pieces in the Citrus County media landscape.
The first was the need for a free option of information about the events occurring in our local government. Misinformation was spreading too often from people on social media who would read a headline and make assumptions about the rest of the story; a story they couldn’t access because of understandable paywalls necessary to sustain newspapers in a digital age.
That brings us to the second need. We are living in a digital age. The Concurrent audio and video records all of our written content to make it easy to stay in the know on the go. We are the only publication in Citrus County with a mobile app. This free app provides mobile access to all our social media feeds without needing an account on any of the platforms.
The third and final need the Concurrent addresses is the need for an outlet that presents an opposing argument to that of the Chronicle opinion section. This doesn’t mean we set out to be contrarian, but our views on issues (even those we agree on) tend to be drastically different.
This is in part because of the background of the Concurrent’s publisher. Bobby Winsler is a conservative political consultant who has been campaign manager on over a dozen Republican and nonpartisan local races in Citrus County.
He has a Ph.D. from the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida and had a seven year run as a freelance journalist for the Tampa Bay Times, Sarasota Herald-Tribune and other Suncoast print media outlets that ended when he moved to Gainesville to pursue his studies at UF.
He’s lived in Citrus for over half a decade becoming an active member of the community both in and out of politics.
The commentary doesn’t always tow the Party line, however, nor is it sensational to make you feel angry after reading it. The goal isn’t to manipulate emotion. It is to stimulate thought.
The Chronicle is a publication that targets how its readers feel, and it does a great service to Citrus to take this approach. Pictures of herons at sunrise or albino raccoons and stories about longtime anniversaries of an elderly couple or fundraising for a young person who faces adversity helps us become connected to one another and it builds a community that makes our area such a wonderful place to live.
The Concurrent’s approach isn’t to make you feel - it’s to make you think. Our coverage is limited to public affairs rather than community happenings and our goal is to give you thought-provoking content so that you too can help steer the direction of the county toward what you think is best. This is done through daily social media posts, twice-weekly 750 word columns, a weekly podcast show and monthly print editions.
To the readers who have been with us through the early stages - thank you. We couldn’t have made it this far without you. To the others who are joining us from this start - welcome to the conversation. Welcome to the Concurrent.