Indy Celebrates Four Years Of Local Reporting
On March 30, 2019 the Indy published its first issue. It contained 10 articles, including reports on February and March town council meetings (by Maura Keene), the town-wide potluck celebrating Town Meeting (by Art Keene), Citizens for Racial Amity Now (by Jennie McKenna), the District One Neighborhood Association (by Meg Gage), budget constraints on the capital projects (by Toni Cunningham), the need for a new design for the Jones Library (by Terry Johnson), and an interview with Lynn Griesemer (by the Indy Staff).
By The Numbers
Since that first issue the Indy has published (as of 3/30/23) 3,938 stories, letters, opinion pieces, and events listings, written by 307 unique contributors. Those stories elicited 5,441 posted comments. Some of those writers have appeared just once in our pages while others are frequent contributors. The Indy currently hosts seven columnists who appear at least monthly as well as a variety of occasional columns. This month the Indy recorded 18,868 unique visits with 41,116 page views, our second highest tally in our four years of existence (the highest was the month prior to the November 2021 town elections). Currently over 2100 people subscribe to the Indy’s free weekly email digest (to get on that list drop us a note at email@example.com).
The Indy was envisioned as a community journalism project, an opportunity for Amherst residents to create an “online public square” where civic discourse would thrive, civic literacy and civic participation would be fostered, and a space where progressive politics would be promoted. Underlying this aim was a desire to keep tabs on our (then new) local government, to support local democracy, and to keep things transparent. View our original mission statement here.
The Indy is available for free, remains free of advertising, and publishes under a Creative Commons license. The Indy continues to invite and enthusiastically welcome new contributors writing about all matters of interest to Amherst. We especially seek reporters to cover the following beats: Agriculture, Community Preservation Act, Community Resources Committee, Conservation Commission, Energy and Climate Action Committee, Finance Committee, Governance, Organization and Legislation Committee, Recreation Commission, Recycling, School Committee and the schools, and Transportation. Do you have an idea or a news tip? Do you want to explore the possibilities of writing about happenings in our town? Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
12 thoughts on “Indy Celebrates Four Years Of Local Reporting”
You are a gift to us all. Thank you Indy staff. Please keep on keeping on.
Congratulations and thanks to Art and Maura and all Indy contributors, of whom I am proud to be one. The Indy provides several singular gifts to Amherst. It provides the most comprehensive coverage of town government and the meetings of town boards and committees, including the comments of officials and the public. It provides, under the heading “Opinion” a home for those who wish to comment on town affairs more extensively than other outlets are able to accommodate. Perhaps most important, it provides the only opportunity in town for people to agree, disagree or otherwise comment on the opinions expressed by writers, town officials, and each other. The public comment allowed by the Charter goes one way only. When the councilors talk to each other, as they did last Saturday, the public is not allowed to participate. The Indy’s comment section is available to all – even those who pretend not to read it – and I hope that it will grow as an interactive public forum. It is a fundamental – and sadly singular – foundation of local democracy.
Yes, I too am most grateful that we have The Indy. It is excellent and I depend on it. Many, many thanks.
Happy happy anniversary. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being an important source of information and news. You are the voice we desperately need in town. Thankyou again
I am grateful that Maura and Art are able to pour so much heart and brains into this project, which is the most reliable support system for the many in our community that want their town to not suffer from overdevelopment, opportunistic multifamily housing investors, dis-regulated zoning, and more (that you can read about in the Indy!),
And I am proud to be a contributor, helping to inform people who are too busy or not driven to pay attention to the continuing tensions and intentions.
And I’m pretty sure that those who oddly brag that they don’t read it do read it.
Thank you, Maura and Art, and all writers and readers, and speakers and listeners of this highly effective news source.
Congratulations to Art, Maura, and the many contributors to the Indy. You are providing an important service to Amherst with hard work and dedication.
Art and Maura have provided Amherst with a tremendous resource these past four years, enabling greater oversight of the new form of government. I am so grateful to them and hope that more people will try their hand at writing and contribute to the coverage the Indy offers. So much has fallen on Art and Maura’s shoulders.
It is interesting to re-read my piece on budget constraints from four years ago. So little progress has been made since then!
The $82 million estimate for the school was the original budget but of course we know now it’s a good bit more. This town’s leadership really struggles with keeping to project “budgets”! I am thankful though that the school project is moving forward and hope the override passes handily.
As for the other three projects, we are really still at the same point we were at four years ago. No progress has been made on the DPW or Fire Station, and the Jones Library is still a long way off with no effort made to curtail the Town’s allocation to that project to $10 million.
Sometimes I wish we could be a little more like Hadley. Rein in those dreams and instead develop realistic projects with affordable budgets that can actually end in a building in our lifetimes.
Thank you my dear colleagues for providing us local news when the print media have difficulty sustaining themselves. Often I find Valley news on the front page of the Boston Globe before the Gazette prints it.
Discovering the Amherst Indy brought me into a whole new window of local government and progressive activism. I am so grateful that Art and Maura have given my organizations a platform to share our views, as well as facts the public needs to hear. They have also fostered a fabulous discussion space, and an all you can eat, food for thought buffet about critical topics such as the library project. (Who knew we pay architect so much money!) Without The Indy myself and many local residents including ARHS students would not have the wealth meaningful ways to engage in and learn about our community. The running of The Indy is truly an un-paid, full time commitment to our town. Thank you to the Keene’s for your tireless community service.
Huge thanks for their vision and persistence to Art, Maura, Kitty Axelson-Berry, and the large number of civic-minded writers and readers who have made The INDY into Amherst’s indispensable virtual Town Common!
I do hope that the Jones Library’s Special Collections is archiving it all. Historians will need it, too!
This auspicious date notwithstanding, would it be fair to ask:
IS IT FOOLISH TO NOT READ The Indy?
I take my foolscap off to Art and Maura for 4+years of heroic efforts!!!!
Instead, like the rest of us,
I read The Indy on a screen,
and mine is pretty close to 8-by-13* 😉
*The typical size of foolscap paper (in inches).
Congratulations and thanks to Art and Maura for giving our community a place to listen to each other.