Sunday, January 22, 2012
A new site replaces Left of the Hudson
I'll start with what might sound like bad news: Left of the Hudson, as you know it, will cease publishing as of January 30, 2012. I started the site in 2007 as a personal journal and it grew from having just a handful of readers a week to more than 260,000 readers--most all of them in New York--in October 2011 (thanks to its Occupy Wall Street coverage).
So, why would I shutter a blog that has become successful and even used as a source by MSNBC, CNN, and The Journal News? Because it wasn't doing enough.
For those of you that have been familiar with Left of the Hudson over the past five years, it has grown to be a site focused on the Nyacks and Orangetown, to one focused on Rockland County. From there, I began to include areas of Orange, Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties that shared State Assembly, State Senate, and Congressional seats with Rockland County. And then it began to touch on neighboring districts. Eventually, the site included statewide content including Albany politics, marriage equality, government transparency, hydraulic fracturing, Indian Point, and Hudson River pollution. Eventually, I began to license relevant content from news sources such as ProPublica, Truthout, and Democracy Now! Others began to contribute their posts as well, which enhanced the site considerably.
So now I find that the content was no longer focuces on the left bank of the Hudson River, it's all over the place. The name "Left of the Hudson" doesn't fit anymore. Also, I'm stretched too thin. Somehow, I was expected to maintain an up-to-date perspective on all the above topics and more. That's a lot to ask of someone who has a full-time job, a family, and some semblance of a social life.
So, I've spent a lot of time over the past six months thinking how I can improve the quality and scope of the content, and yet still have it serve my local community. I think you will like the result: On January 30, I will officially launch a new alternative state and local news website called NYaltnews. Left of the Hudson will continue to be one of many community columns (or blogs, if you will) on that site. Rockland County and the Lower Hudson Valley will continue to be served as they have before, but so will other communities across the state.
I like to refer to NYaltnews as "guerilla journalism." The site incorporates the best of citizen journalism, alternative culture, and activism on a statewide and local levels. Select citizens, activists, non-profit organizations, public servants, and some candidates for public office will be invited to contribute to the site, where I will serve mostly as an editor. Currently, we have a small handful of individuals contributing, and two New York-based advocacy organizations, Riverkeeper, and ACT NOW, will help provide content as well.
The new site will also publish the most relevant Creative Commons media from sources such as Gawker, BoingBoing, ProPublica, YES! Magazine, The Ground Report, The Sunlight Foundation, and Fairness & Accuracy in the Media. Beyond that, NYaltnews' media feed will pick news gems from across the state and include links to those sites with relevant community content.
I strongly feel that NYaltnews will become the place to visit for statewide news that goes beyond the mainstream, corporate media. NYaltnews is in beta right now and the content hasn't yet to be released to the search engines, yet it already followed by hundreds of readers a day. Once the word gets out, I'm confident that it will be a fruitful venture.
I encourage everyone who reads Left of the Hudson to subscribe to NYaltnews. Moreover, I encourage people to become part of the NYaltnews family. We are looking for contributors from all over the state to help make the site rich in people-driven content.
On February 1, Left of the Hudson will redirect to NYaltnews, completing the transition. In the meantime I encourage you to visit NYaltnews. I also would appreciate any feedback; you can let me know what you think at this email address.