With Apologies for the Delay...
In response to those of our subscribers who have reached out or wondered about our hiatus from publishing, we wanted to provide an overdue update:
Since Marblehead Beacon’s launch in the summer of 2022—just under a year and a half ago—we have done our very best to bring you reporting you will not see elsewhere. While our strategy has included focusing on impact above volume, we have still managed to publish many hundreds of articles on a wide range of Marblehead-focused topics.
Those familiar with our work know that at times our stories have provided context and facts left out by other news sources, and often we have been able to shine light on otherwise behind-closed-doors dealings. Our in-depth reporting on local and regional elections and analysis of financial issues in our town were the first of their kind, and we believe the best.
In the recent past it has become clear that important pieces of Marblehead’s infrastructure are crumbling—or at least showing evidence of deep fault lines. While public officials often make assertions about their willingness to be transparent, there are myriad areas in which the public is the last to know about important and sometimes even critical matters.
In some instances it appears that town officials deem the public too rash or limited to make appropriate decisions based on all available information. In other cases it may be less sinister, and more about a lack of effective communication strategies. Regardless of the rationale or reason, obtaining adequate explanations proves difficult or at times impossible for local citizens. In some cases these matters have enormous implications for zoning, real estate and other local taxes, educational outcomes, building department deficiencies, hidden conflicts of interest, and much more.
One of the primary goals when we launched Marblehead Beacon was to be true citizen journalists—scrutinizing things that the town’s paper of record had ignored or overlooked during its heyday. For nearly a year and a half we hustled, unearthing much that had never been reported on; we filed and won appeals with the Secretary of State to force the Town of Marblehead to comply with our (reasonable and modest) public records requests. We were even warned by one current elected official that it would be better if we were to avoid reporting “negative” stories—an attitude seemingly more beneficial to the existing power structure than to Marblehead’s residents.
What has become abundantly clear is that there are enormously strong winds blowing against the pursuit of transparency, and that sweat equity in reporting has its limitations.
Marblehead Beacon has been working without a revenue source or paid staff. It is very much a labor of love, but not one that is sustainable at our previous pace. Making repeated pitches for donor dollars and advertising money in the community we cover might indeed be a winning strategy, but it is not something that works for us.
In light of all of the above, we have elected to pursue periodic and unique pieces, and shift away from daily, weekly, or otherwise regular articles. Essentially we will publish pieces that land at the intersection of three things: provide a value-add to Marblehead Beacon readers, work within the confines of our tight resource allocation, and avoid any “re-tread” of content generated elsewhere.
More specifically, our focus remains on contributing meaningfully to the public’s awareness regarding the stewardship of our town—which includes shedding light where town business remains shrouded in darkness or reported elsewhere with critical components missing. Additionally, it remains important to us to profile special members of our community who might otherwise be overlooked.
We continue to be enormously grateful to our readers, to all those who have contributed to the word-of-mouth success of Marblehead Beacon, to those who have served as sources, and to readers who have proactively sent us financial contributions. Many thanks to all of you, and we hope that as we move ahead in this new direction you will check in with us regularly and stay tuned.
For anyone who wishes to connect with us, please reach out at email@example.com anytime.