Thank you for joining us for the opening act of a new voice for our community, the Ferguson Observer. I say the opening act, and not the opening issue, because an online publication such as ours will be updated constantly, rather than being issued monthly. And I say “joining us” rather than “reading us” because I hope that our work will spur you to be involved, if not here, then in the many other wonderful things which are happening in our community.
Some of you are familiar with The Ferguson Times, which was published for about twenty years, and which ceased publication in December. We are happy that some of the columnists who once wrote for that paper will be joining us here. But we will be broader, both in content and viewpoint. The Observer does not belong to a particular faction, but rather, welcomes all to contribute to a publication which will reflect the community which it serves. As editor, I hope to strike a balance which will be equally challenging to all of us, and know that each of you is a part of that. If you don’t hear your voice in the pages of The Observer, we have failed. But equally important, if you do not feel challenged, we have also failed.
The Ferguson Times was funded, to a great extent, by the city. It is a matter of public record that they received $30,000 a year as compensation for the pages in which the city published their own material. We have offered the city the same ability to publish whatever they wish, in a section of their own, at no cost. While we will gladly serve the city in this way, they will be no sponsor of our work, and we will maintain a strict neutrality regarding our reporting on the city. That, by the way, will be an important part of the Observer which you may want to visit often. We are delighted to have the services of Darci Knowles as our city hall correspondent. As informed an observer of the folks on Church Street as anyone I know, Darci will relieve me of the hazard of covering their foibles myself, and I trust she will ably inform us all on municipal affairs.
Of course, there is far more to our city than government, and we are happy that a great and growing collection of our notable neighbors have volunteered to cast their work in our direction. It is my hope that every aspect of our fair city may be looked upon through the eyes of our neighbors, and that we may be enriched by it all. Our columnists will be supported by a team of people whom you will not see, providing copy editing, technical support, and marketing assistance. Through their collective effort, we hope to provide a bigger, better source of information for those who reside or have an interest in Ferguson. And that means you. Thank you for joining us, and please come back soon.