UPDATED Dec. 23, 2021: YourArlington began as an experiment in community journalism dedicated to reporting news about Arlington, Mass., and the Arlington-related views of its residents. The experiment continues, but it is not unique -- it is part of a nationwide movement called "citizen journalism." The phrase gained currency through We the Media, a 2004 book by Dan Gillmor. This kind of journalism encourages members of a community to write about that community. The writing may be reporting, or it may be opinion.
Bob Sprague, an Arlington resident since 1989, guards with liberality what is posted on the site. As publisher of an incorporated business, he is a member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of LION Publishers, which stands for Local Independent Online News Publishers. The group published a story about YourArlington on July 30, 2015.
On Dec. 8, 2021, the site announced a significant change: It had become a nonprofit organization, recognized by the IRS as a 501(C)(3) as elgible to receive tax-deductible contributions. It no longer seeks advertising but encourages public support through individual donations, underwriting and grants.
A board now guides the site, but it exercises no editorial control. Its members are Bob Sprague, president; Scott Samenfeld, vice chair/technology; Annie LaCourt, treasurer; Melanie Gilbert, secretary; and Joseph A. Curro Jr., clerk. Sprague remains the editor and decides what is published.
Ten town residents provide advice to the board. Those advisers are Marjorie Howard, Susan Gilbert, Judith Pfeffer, David Whitford, Steve Morgan, Jillian Harvey, Clarissa Rowe, Barbara Thornton, Rose Udics and Lisa Pedulla.
YourArlington is a local news organization that publishes facts and opinions about Arlington, Mass. We aspire to the highest journalistic standards of accuracy, impartiality and fairness. Our aim is to bolster an engaged citizenry and so strengthen our community and democracy."
The publisher encourages factual reporting, honest opinion and overall fair play. He urges town residents to register and tell the public what they know. When you sign up, provide your first and last name as well as your Arlington address.
On this site, the public has a right to know the sources of information. Anonymous sources may be used in some cases, but when you post to this site, public should know your full name. Reach the publisher here >>
Writers most of whom received pay for their services since 2014:
Susan Gilbert reports about the Select Board, the arts and provides features.
Judith Pfeffer currently reports about Arlington Public Schools.
Melanie Gilbert writes about the Arlington Housing Authority and provides features.
Marjorie Howard, a former reporter for the Boston Herald and the publisher's wife, provides people features and is not paid.
Previous paid School Committee reporters were Julia Preszler, Northeastern student; Eileen O'Grady, Northeastern graduate student who now works at the Concord, N.H., Monitor); and Jo Anne Preston of Arlington, who also provided features.
Rebecca Braun, freelance general-assignment reporter.
Aileen Maroney, a freelance feature writer.
Susie Goldman, a freelance feature writer.
Jane Dornbusch, a restaurant reviewer.
Earlier, Linda and Uri Guttman as well as Lori Uhland were paid reviewers.
Scott Samenfeld, who helps with site technology (contact him at info[@]samenfeldconsulting.com) as well as Karen Gruber, who helped with the database. Both are Arlington residents and were paid for some work.
Arlington residents who help this site as volunteers in the past are:
Barbara Goodman, a former Arlington School Committee member, and
various interns from Arlington High School.
From 2007 to 2012, various advanced students from the classes of Kim Eudenbach, a journalism teacher at Arlington High School, contributed to the site.
Benn Craig, an Arlington photographer, has contributed photographs to the site in the past.
Audrey L. Jenkins was a contributing reporter in April and May 2012.
Colin Campbell submitted weekly police reports from November 2008 until September 2010.
Publisher's resume >>
Some site history
The site launched Dec. 10, 2006, as a dot-com on open-source Joomla!
In August 2007, Google ads were added. The ability for users to post comments was added that September. A new site template was activated in October 2007.
In 2008, the OpenX online-advertising system was installed. In February 2013, the site began using Joomla's FlexBanner and Broadstreet Ads after OpenX was hacked nationwide.
On June 9, 2008, the site was incorporated by its publisher in Massachusetts.
In May 2009, Your View, a new opinion site, was added. Since 2012, the site used has EasyBlog, which continues to be upgraded. YourArlington itself is not a blog, but the site includes a blog, where opinion is published.
On Jan. 14, 2010, Boston.com added Arlington to its Your Town links and began linking to YourArlington stories. In 2015, Boston.com abandoned its hyperlocal effort, but YourArlington's connection to The Boston Globe continues.
On Sept. 8, 2012, the site upgraded to Joomla! platform 2.5, and made public a new site design.
A new mobile-ready, responsive-design template was activated July 7, 2014, in concert Joomla platform. The latest version (2021) is 3.9.28.
In June 2016, YourArlington signed a contract to have Broadstreet Ads deliver advertising content. The New Jersey company offers more than 100 options to advertising, including an automated Facebook feed. That contract ended Sept. 1, 2021.
Since 2016, the site has used AcyMailing to deliver its weekly newsletter.
In 2018, Steve Poltorzycki, an Arlington resident writes about what he sells -- local real estate -- began his column, Real Estate Corner.
On Dec. 8, 2021, the site announced that it had become a nonprofit organization and had begun making design changes, which are to continue in 2022.
As of Dec. 23, 2021, the site's newsletter, published every Wednesday, has 514 subscribers. Sign up using the button on the upper right column under "Wednesday update."
Those who would like to help with the site should inquire. If others volunteer, the photo above could become smaller, and other photos may be added, making the site a better representation of "us." Reach the publisher here >>
This account was published in December 2006 and updated Dec. 23, 2021, to add board members' names.
FACEBOOK BOX: To see all images, click the PHOTOS link just below