Last night The Citizen took a major step forward when one of our interns, Jake Robinson, sat at the media table during a council meeting. I felt a sense of both pride and accomplishment watching Jake chat with Kevin Swayze from The Record. As a journalism intern, it was important for him, and Jake looked like he belonged there.
This is important for us from a social media perspective. When we started the site 18 months ago among other things, we wanted a place to discuss all sides of local issues, and to help people with the bureaucratic red tape at city hall when needed.
Over the last decade I have personally established a good working relationship with Mayor Craig and council. I can’t count the number of times I have gone after the city on various issues. They have found that it’s much easier to deal with me by a phone call than to have me write a column. Council Chambers have been packed on several occasions as a result of my columns, the most memorable being my “No poppies on headstones in Cambridge Cemeteries” story when senior citizens jammed a council meeting calling for Doug Craig’s head.
Here a few random quotes from some of my columns. There are a lot more.
“I’m sick of hearing that Cambridge is no worse than other communities. Together we can make it better.”
“Council has a responsibility to the people who elected them.”
“Ben Tucci is wrong about water bottles in city hall.”
“The mayor should get off his little throne in Galt”
“Terrified to leave their humble abodes, they beseeched King Craig to come to their rescue. He dispatched Coun. Tucci and the Knights of Lancer Corporation, who chased the vile beasts and their minion whores into the streets of the Cambridge core to be dealt with by the mighty BIA.” (That’s one of my favorites)
The point I’m making is I find I no longer have to, or have any desire to write the scathing articles that have helped establish me. Yesterday I resolved several issues on behalf of readers by simply talking to members of council, which is what I prefer. I want to explore other avenues of” Scot the Arist.”
If you read Jake’s column about the parade that I just reposted you’ll see that he is already establishing a relationship with the mayor and council, and with a degree of objectivity that I don’t think I posses.
The reason I bring this up is some people seem to be under the impression we are getting some kind of funding or help from the city, and that isn’t the case. Everything we have done over the last 18 months has been completely funded by James, myself, our advertisers and some donations from our readers.
Jake and Brendan are just two of the new writers we have to look into local issues on your behalf, and they are being trained to be objective.
An advocate is someone who argues a case on behalf of someone before a board or an official. In order to effectively argue a case with any hope of winning you need credibility with the party you are arguing with, otherwise you are not advocating, you are just bitching. I would rather be recognized as a true advocate of the citizens of Cambridge than just another bitch, so I think the credibility is important for the future of The Citizen, and last night’s council meeting was an important step.
Congratulations, and thank you, to Jake.