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An e-mail exchange to remember

Chapman Hyperlocal Media Inc. Board President Claire Schoen and Board member John Levin during NancyOnNorwalk’s fun cruise in July. (Nancy Chapman)

Over the year, we receive many emails and comments from readers, some complimentary, some not-so-complimentary, some downright nasty. As we wrap up 2021, I want to share one recent exchange that has stayed with me.

NancyOnNorwalk sent a fundraising appeal that included this message: “We don’t cover the news to make money, we ask you for money so we can cover the news.”

(It’s true. Nancy’s our only employee; many of us are unpaid volunteers dedicated to keeping local news alive.)

Within hours, I heard back from a reader unknown to me.

You’re kidding, right? You don’t even print comments that don’t go along with your liberal agenda. News? More like propaganda – you are no different than the rest of them.

 

Although I don’t always reply, this one resonated, and I responded:

I am genuinely curious – where else do you get your local news about Norwalk? 

The reply:

For news, unfortunately, it’s become like the days of old when you relied on neighbors and friends – Twitter and FB can be somewhat helpful – headlines from Fairfield County Business Journal, too. You find something interesting and spend the next half an hour digging around online…

 

Our exchange continued for a few more rounds, in which we discussed COVID, CT state education statistics and Norwalk BOE financing.  The reader had lots of question on local issues, but it became clear that many had been already answered on NancyOnNorwalk. (“Where does the BOE money go?” “What hasn’t anyone spoken about [xxx]?”)

We didn’t solve the world’s (or Norwalk’s) problems, but we came to an understanding:  although we might be looking through different lenses (reader skeptical of the news industry overall, and me concerned with the ongoing financial pressure facing every newsroom) – we both recognize the importance of the discussion.

And we both value local news.

We know you do, too.

Imagine my surprise when, the next day, this once-skeptical reader made a generous donation to NancyOnNorwalk.

We hope you will, too. *

Because without your support, we cannot deliver the news of local meetings, budgets, zoning issues, education – the stuff that truly makes us a community.

 

*Thank you to all of you who have already!

Best wishes to all our readers for a safe, happy, and healthy new year!

4 comments

John Levin December 30, 2021 at 7:36 am

Claire – this was excellent. Thank you also for your extraordinary service and leadership to keep NancyOnNorwalk going. Quality local news service is so critical to the well being of any community. We all are lucky to have citizens, residents, readers and volunteers who are willing to support this effort and to ensure the burden is shared by many.

David Osler December 30, 2021 at 9:07 am

I’ve always been a fan of yours you do being a little too far to the left for my tastes but compared to the Norwalk rag second or whatever it’s known as I found them to be a fairly worthless new source that’s the reason why I support you. You bring up topics that are relevant I wish you had the resources to cover more about the city particularly a lot of the underhandedness of town hall and local events and stories on local businesses would be nice to know about I think a lot of the local business people would like to buy very minimalistic advertising from you I know I would. We might not have the same views but you do care about the city and you do want to be better and you’re not just an earpiece for our executive branch whether it be rilling or lamont

Steve Mann December 30, 2021 at 11:21 am

Claire, this is sad but true. During the last Administration, I’d asked a few of our younger citizens, who were all critical of Fox News, where they got informed. “Twitter” was the main answer. Good thing that’s a fair and balanced news service which would never ever think of stifling comments, nor out and out censorship.

Piberman December 30, 2021 at 12:36 pm

From our earliest days as a fledging nation our founders recognized that vigorous newspapers were essential to creating and maintaining communities. Sadly in the dot.com age that essential idea has fallen by the side. Not too many decades ago CT had vigorous newspapers. Now the majors are all but a shadow and the State’s economy stagnant for an entire decade. And rather than being sent by mail we have to drive all the way to the Park tp pick up a covid test kit. Times have certainly changed.

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