Introducing the Observer
The most common question we are asked when people hear about the Observer project is, "You're starting a newspaper now?" The struggles of the newspaper industry are well-known - the death of Denver's Rocky Mountain News, the bankruptcies of papers in Chicago, Philadelphia and the Twin Cities, the buyouts and consolidations of papers in Northeast Ohio. We can understand why the initial reaction to the Observer is skepticism, and our response is simple: this is not a conventional newspaper.
The Observer is a citizen-generated news source, fueled by local residents and focused on our community. It is a true community effort; anyone and everyone in the community can contribute in whichever way they choose - writing stories, taking photos, submitting press releases or announcing events. It is a way of communicating between neighbors and filling in the gaps left by the mainstream media.
We started the Observer because we wanted to create a community news source that all residents of Bay and Westlake could participate in. Sure, there are other outlets covering the major stories in our cities, but we were looking for more. We wanted a news source that delved deeper into the heart of the community - down to the neighborhood level.
The Observer website is the place people can go to get the news as it happens, check out a calendar of community events and view photo galleries of local happenings. The Observer newspaper provides community news, events, ideas and photos in a conventional print-based media. The online discussion board (known as the Observation Deck) offers residents an open forum to voice their opinions about local topics. The combination of all three elements provides a comprehensive look at what’s really going on in our streets and how things are seen by area residents.
Our main goal at the Observer is to help build a strong community. Civic and nonprofit groups can expand their reach by publicizing events and spreading their message through stories. City leaders can communicate directly with residents by writing articles detailing their ideas, plans, or goals and can receive immediate feedback on the Observation Deck. And, most importantly, the people of Bay and Westlake can find out what’s happening around town and can participate in a community-wide dialogue. We truly believe that when all facets of a community - civic organizations, government and residents - come together to share information and discuss ideas, the community as a whole is strengthened and energized.
After spending more than a year laying the groundwork for the Westlake | Bay Village Observer, we now turn the project over to the community to fill its pages and chart its direction. We encourage anyone who lives and/or works in Westlake or Bay to take part in a rewarding experience and contribute to the community discourse.