I don’t live in your town and yet I submitted “Dead Animals” to your town’s Patch. Most likely your Patch’s editor approved it and posted it on the front page in the Local Voice section. I am sorry if I misled any editors by never selecting one Patch to be the primary publication.
Who should be considered to be a local voice? Is it to be just for the town’s residents, or should it also include bloggers from the surrounding towns, the county, state, or even from all of New England?
I live between towns that have a Patch. I began sending pro-Obama submissions, (such as “To the Person Who Keeps Ripping Down My Obama Sign” and “Don’t Ever Watch a Presidential Debate at a Sport’s Bar”), to one or two of the closest towns that have a Patch. I have been referred to as a person that has “missions”. My mission at the time was to get Barack re-elected. My mission with “Dead Animals” was to try to help a few people avoid the discomfort that comes with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, etc. With each mission I was motivated to get more Patches to approve my submissions.
In my defense, I have lived and worked in many towns in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I have also noticed other submissions have appeared across both states. I did ask two Patch editors for guidelines on who is to be considered a local voice. They are busy people and I did not get a reply from either one. Just recently I was able to get some feedback from an editor that joined a “Dead Animals” discussion.....
Andrew Sylvia (Editor of the Westford and Chelmsford Patches)
10:04 am on Wednesday, November 28, 2012
My personal philosophy is to try to be as inclusive as possible as long as it doesn't conflict with what readers want. For example, in Westford, I've heard consistently that readers want stricter moderation of comments, so I keep a closer eye on them there than I do here.
If readers here in Chelmsford don't want me to major feature out-of-town local voices columns, I can respect that. I would definitely prefer to major feature the ones that I think will get a reaction (like this one), but in the end, this site belongs to all of you. Let me know what you want and I will do my best to fulfill that.”
The plusses of encouraging your editor to continue to include people like me, is that this freedom allows for a greater amount of input to select something that might be relevant to you. The downside is that outsiders will tend to take away some of the town flavor that comes with each Patch. My personal opinion is to continue to encourage each editor to provide each Patch with a healthy mix. Contributions with a range of subject matter from potholes to international issues should be accepted, based upon the likelihood of being a spark for an intelligent, productive, or maybe just an entertaining conversation.
If you should choose to share your thoughts on how you would like your editor to handle an out-of-towner, please do not base your opinion upon what you think of me. My political orientation or not wanting to eat your vegetables is not the issue. This is not about me. This is about how far to leave the Patch door open. The next local voice might be someone like Clint Eastwood or Ted Nugent. I imagine that they might be in our neck of the woods to console Mitt, or perhaps just to hunt and eat animals.
Don Brown (author,columnist, and blogger at TheGreaterReality.com)