A Second Year, A Second Site

Before I begin this Medium series, I would refer you to the eight posts I previously penned and published at this location: www,medium.com/@1812blockhouse. In those posts, I chronicle my work over the first year of creating, maintaining, and growing a new local online news and information site in Mansfield and Richland County, Ohio.

On September 8, that site, 1812Blockhouse, turned two years old. On the same day the button was pushed that activated a second effort modeled after the first.

In a short series of posts, I will review the last year at 1812 as well as what led to the creation of 1808Delaware. By the way, if you notice a pattern in the names you would be correct. Part by design, part by happenstance, the name for both sites — and any which may come along in the future — sports a year which is significant to the community being covered.

When I stopped writing on Medium a year ago, my intent was to continue with a look at the Mansfield media market. I may still do this in the future, but for the present I am inclined to be more general in my approach. I continue to be a voracious reader of coverage in regards to local online news media, particularly those who are independent of any traditional, “legacy” ties. I have also watched with interest what 2017–2018 has brought for the news sites I referred to in my first set of posts.

Being involved in a second community also gives me the opportunity to see how the model plays out in different markets. Mansfield and Delaware are both small to mid-sized Midwestern cities, some 40 miles apart; both have strong downtowns. There the similarities largely end. Delaware County lies directly in the path of the Columbus metro area’s northward expansion, and the tug-of-war between urbanization and maintaining community character plays itself out every day. Mansfield and Richland County, on the other hand, are far enough removed from urban areas as to constitute its own market (and recognized by the US Census Bureau as its own metropolitan statistical area).

Interestingly, this different plays itself out in how each community “lives online,” one of the topics I plan to explore in this series.

I go into this new venture with a battery of lessons learned. 1812Blockhouse is a far better product now than it was in late 2016. As with all such endeavors, some plans worked, and others crashed. Each time the latter took place I dusted myself off and started something new. In that entire period of time, I had only two occasions when I received e-mails complaining about coverage or something which had been posted — both of which were handled immediately and painlessly.

In all areas of my life, I have found that writing organizes my thoughts and proves both therapeutic and useful. I am looking forward to this new round.

September 9, 2018