Daily News Returns to Auburn

by | Aug 26, 2013

By John Anderson and Jeff LaBonte

Daily news returns to Auburn in the form of the “Auburn Mass Daily”, a venture between local residents Jeffrey LaBonte and John Anderson.

Like many people in town, we relied on the Daily Auburn – which later became the Auburn Daily Voice – for local announcements, event listings, and a dose of daily news. When the Daily Voice folded on March 4 of this year, Auburn was left with little news coverage and virtually no daily coverage.

The Telegram covers big things, like accidents, fires or controversy. But there is nowhere to turn for breaking news or real time updates. When a concert is cancelled due to weather, how do we spread the word?

More importantly how do the town, the schools and other town organizations spread the word about events and news? Most of these announcements travel through ad hoc networks including Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and good old fashioned word of mouth. Our hope is that the Auburn Mass Daily becomes a single information source for all things Auburn.

For now, the focus will be on spreading the word about local events, profiling local residents, covering Auburn sports and reporting on other local interest items.

We envision working with the schools, the town and local organizations to get the word out about, well, everything, we hope. Since there are just two of us and this is a bootstrap startup, we won’t be focusing on breaking news, or things other news sources like the Telegram or Auburn News still do well.

We’re looking more at things like Rte. 12 going down to one lane due to the reconstruction work. Items like that are important and timely, but don’t have to be published in real time.

Initially, the Auburn Daily News aims to publish three articles a day five days a week, Monday through Friday, plus any breaking news or urgent announcements. The content will be free to the public, and the site will be sponsor-supported.

We believe this model is the future, in spite of the struggles faced by similar ventures like AOL’s Patch and the Daily Voice franchise. Our hopes for success hinge on the fact that we are not looking at this as a stepping stone to a media empire. We are here to cover Auburn, to focus on Auburn and issues affecting Auburn.

We consider ourselves 21st century journalists. We don’t have formal journalism training and experience. We didn’t go to school for this, so we didn’t have professors telling us how we should do things. We don’t know any better. We just think about what we’d like to read and figure others probably would, too.

John is a former Auburn firefighter and authored the investigative report on the Worcester Cold Storage fire for the United States Fire Administration. He is a also a professional photographer, running a commercial photography business based in Auburn. John has previous news reporting experience, including covering sports for the Auburn Daily Voice before its abrupt closure in March 2013.

Jeff is a management consultant by trade, and has been active in local volunteer groups. He has served on the Recreation and Culture Committee and the Pappas Recreation Complex Oversight Committee. He currently sits on several non-profit boards including the Friends of the Pappas Recreation Complex, Auburn Little League, Auburn Community Players and Pakachoag Church. He is also a coach for United Soccer of Auburn.

The media industry’s rules have changed. But the rules of responsible and ethical journalism have not. Our goal is to provide content that is timely, interesting and accurate. What more can anyone really ask?