Rather than recommend resolutions local officials might adopt to improve how our towns function, we’ve been thinking about the newspaper and how we can make it better for our readers in the new year. With competition from other news outlets, especially the Internet — including blogs, chat rooms and even YouTube — we face an unprecedented challenge.
That’s where you, our readers, come in. We want to provide the news about Chatham and Harwich that you want to read, that you need to live and participate in the community. Our feedback is usually limited; we often only hear from readers when we’ve made an error or written a particularly controversial editorial. We’d like to hear more about our regular coverage. Are our stories accurate and complete? Are we missing anything you feel is important, that you would want to know? We have a deliberately local focus — just Chatham and Harwich. Are we too insular? Would you be interested in occasional stories from beyond our borders?
We also have to face the fact that our resources are limited. As an independent newspaper, one of just three remaining on Cape Cod, we don’t have deep pockets to reach into. We can’t put a reporter on a single story for weeks or months at a time. We make up for that by our experience and depth of knowledge of our communities, unmatched by any other local news organization. And we resolve to continue playing the role of watchdog and community conscience that we’ve pursued for more than four decades, calling out town officials when necessary and making sure residents are treated fairly in all aspects of their lives.
We also resolve to be as accurate as possible, to be more careful about the small, niggling things we know bug many readers, such as misspellings and misplaced punctuation.
We also resolve to finally revamp our website to make it more functional, informative and visually appealing. The process is underway now. If there’s anything you’d like to see changed or added to the site, please let us know.
Finally, we resolve to maintain perspective and a sense of humor. We do an important job, but we must be careful not to take ourselves too seriously.
Let us know how we’re doing with these resolutions. Or make suggestions. Contact us via snail mail or by email at email@example.com.
And have a Happy New Year.
The Regionalization Conundrum
Once again, the idea of school regionalization is being raised. Don’t be surprised if you feel a sense of déjà vu. The concept seems to come up on a regular basis, sometimes from Harwich, sometimes from Chatham, sometimes from other communities. But always, the outcome of studies, investigations or inquiries about school regionalization are the same.
Currently, the Harwich School Building Needs Committee is studying whether it makes sense for that town to regionalize its school system. Such an investigation is required in as part of the planning for much-needed improvements to Harwich High School. Chatham went through a similar exercise more than a decade ago when it was planning to upgrade its school buildings. At the time, interest in regionalization, from any surrounding districts, was nil.
There’s little reason to suspect that’s changed, except that, much to the surprise of Harwich school officials, the Massachusetts School Building Authority has placed the district in a “regional feasibility” category. Is this an attempt by the agency to discourage Harwich from pursuing the building project, perhaps for financial reason? Or just wishful thinking on the part of some state bureaucrat?
The building project is years away, and regionalization with another community or communities, even if remotely feasible, is likely even farther away. Harwich can’t wait that long to upgrade its failing school infrastructure.
We want to hear your views on this and other issues. Drop us a line or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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