Greetings from the Midwest (Chicago and Milwaukee) where Maura and I are spending a couple of days before we head off to Texas to hang out with grandkids. This means that we’ll be producing the Indy remotely tonight and next week. It also means that in a busy news week such as this one, we’re not going to be able to get everything that we have in hand posted before the Indy goes out via email on Saturday morning. As I write at this late hour on Friday night, stories are continuing to come in (and we’re grateful to our growing group of community journalists who have submitted them). We’ll do our best to get as much posted as we can before we hit deadline, but some of the materials that we had hoped to include in tomorrow’s edition, just aren’t ready yet. These include reports from meetings last week of the Finance Committee, the Government Organization and Legislation Committee, and the Community Resources Committee, a new “Better World Is Possible” column, a local news roundup in “From Other Sources” (stories we couldn’t cover in the Indy), as well as a handful of editorials and some updates to our “What’s Happening in Amherst” listing. We’ll continue to post over the weekend until we get caught up and thank you for your patience.
The story about the dangers faced by trans and gay students at Amherst Regional Middle School (ARMS) that recently appeared in The Graphic, the online newspaper of Amherst Regional High School, underscores the importance of an independent local press within a democracy. The story was a piece of stellar investigative reporting, and kudos and gratitude are owed the student reporting team and their advisor, Sara Barber-Just for bringing this story to light. As the really troubling situation at ARMS continues to unfold and as the community mobilizes to fix what is broken in our schools, it is clear that the current groundswell of public outrage and mobilization would not be happening were it not for this amazing exercise of journalism. We at the Indy spent about three weeks trying to track down this story and just couldn’t get a foothold. The reason that the charges that have been circulating for a year and a half now have traction within our community is because the team from the Graphic persisted, to report what was happening rigorously and accurately and to gain access to testimony that others could not.
The Indy By The Numbers
Four weeks ago, we published our 4000th article since our inception. Fittingly, it was the table of contents, “What’s In This Issue?” for the week of April 14, 2023. Since then, we have published another 115 articles. And those 4115 were written by 318 unique contributors. In the 30 days from March 17 to April 14, we had over 46,000 page views, an all-time high, for page views in a 30-day period. And last Thursday, we set a weekday record of 3209 page views, clearly in response to the breaking story about ARMS and reactions to it.
We envisioned the Indy would become a community journalism project that could serve as a public square and that would be a vehicle for promoting civic literacy and civic participation that we feared might become attenuated with the end of Town Meeting. We believe that the growing number of folks who read the Indy and the growing number of folks who have written something for us to post, are indications that we are beginning to realize that aspiration.
Come join us. Submissions or ideas should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a reminder that we are asking folks to share with the Indy their favorite photo of an animal (pet or otherwise) that they themselves have taken. We’ve only had a handful of responses thus far but hope that enough will come in that we can assemble an interesting gallery for the first week of June. Please send your favorite photo to email@example.com and please include the name of the photographer and a caption.
Thanks for reading and best wishes,
The Amherst Indy