Kennedy's 'Postcards from
Eighth anniversary reflections
Jonal entry 918 | Monday, September 19, 2005
Tomorrow is my firstborn offspring, daughter Chris', 36th birthday. It's also the eighth anniversary of the Nanty Glo Home Page and the 48th anniversary of the launch of my teen column in the Nanty Glo Journal in 1957, which I consider the beginning of my journalism career. Since this space is idle on Tuesday's, we'll get the speeches out of the way today.
The past year hasn't been the Home Page's best, which concerns someone like me who thinks if every year isn't a notch better than the one before, we must be losing ground. And in some ways we've lost ground. Our Forum Letters department has virtually dried up, after bringing in more than 300 letters in the first five years. This may be attributed mainly to three factors. 1. As the daily email forum has proved to be stable and to have kept a fairly reliable discussion going, those who would have written to the Letters department have joined the email forum and accomplished their goal in that alternate way. 2. One of our most prolific Forum writers, George Dilling, passed away before our seventh anniversary. 3. The other most prolific contributor to the letters pages, Frank Charney, accepted my invitation to be a weekly contributor to this Postcard department and thus, understandably, has not been writing the letters I'd come to expect for the Letters pages. And his letters there often elicited other letters in response, as did George Dilling's.
We're down to six postcard pages per week this year compared with the year before and several years before that. Tuesday is our idle day, a result of the fact that because of family obligations Barbara Hakanen had to discontinue her Historical Society "Old News" page that occupied one of the postcard days in 2004. Judy Rose ably filled that slot for a time, but both Judy and I have changed into work situations that make more demands on our time now than in previous years. And none of us are getting younger.
That latter statement is of special concern to me. It's disappointing that we have never established a younger-generation following or sustained participation in the Home Page. For all the talk about the children and youths being the real computer literates and users, there has been scant evidence for that in our favorite valley. I've received more feedback from faculty members than students at Blacklick Valley High School, and we've done no better among college students and career-starters. I had hoped they would pretty much take over this project, but there are no prospects of that at this point (the one bright exception to this has been Brandon Williamson, a rising webmaster from Nanty Glo for one of the area's largest local corporations, who has supplied some good content, the most noticeable being the summer photos of Nanty Glo from Mount Heisley that are on the Home Page now and have been in previous summers). Bonnie Farabaugh's excellent coverage of the 2004 season Vikings football season at least got a lot of teens looking at the page (we were told)...but none of them checked in.
So...how to reverse this trend of losing ground? I have one short-term hope for doing this, and this would be the addition of a webcam to downtown Nanty Glo, which would be taking photos of a major street scene that would be relayed to the world via the Home Page 24/7. But I've never set up a webcam and am not sure it's feasible within our means. Nevertheless, it's in process. Judy Rose has acquired a PC to be the portal for the camera to the Internet, and we have tentative commitment of a sponsored web account that would enable us to broadcast the images from Nanty Glo "main street" to the rest of the world. I'm sharing this preview in the hope that some out there reading may be able to help...if you know anything about webcams, please get in touch.
And now it's time for Judy Rose, Frank Charney, Barbara Hakanen, Bonnie Farabaugh, Trudy Myers, and all the others who've sent photos, ideas, reminiscences and other items for the Home Page this year to take a bow. Let's all give them a hand!