Heading to The Square

“In a country that has allowed so many newspapers to be owned by a few conglomerates, freedom of the press means, in itself, only that enormous influence without responsibility is conferred on a handful of people. For the heads of such organizations to justify their position by appealing to the principle of freedom of the press is offensive to intellectual honesty.”

The Kent Commission, 1981

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I’ve always been a big supporter of citizen journalism. 

With the mainstream media becoming increasingly concentrated  into fewer and fewer hands – alternative viewpoints are difficult to comeby on issues of importance – particularly when it comes to local news coverage.

Through my media studies at the University of Windsor, I’ve studied various models as well as outcomes of citizen-led journalism projects.  Sadly, many have failed because the entry costs into print media are so high in addition to the deep pockets of the media barons.

However, the internet – as you know since you are reading this blog – has facilitated the development of news portals and micro-media projects offering varying perspectives and at times, in-depth reporting absent in many of the smaller mainstream news outlets across Canada.

Having said this, I was approached a few weeks back about writing for The Windsor Square – and have agreed to do so.

Other than opinion; I hope to offer news coverage of local events – and more – in the weeks and months to follow.  I’ll be writing in full force beginning in September bringing local news coverage as well as opinion you have come to expect at Sound-Off with Chris Schnurr.

I’m excited about this prospect as it will only augment the information you and I have access to in Windsor-Essex.

This blog will still operate – though its focus will shift as I will concentrate my efforts at The Windsor Square on municipal politics as well as the upcoming municipal election.

So I’ll see you at The Square  – Windsor Square!

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15 responses to “Heading to The Square

  1. VERY excited to hear it Chris! I’ve thought for awhile that the municipal bloggers should get together in one place to help co-promote alternative viewpoints. Glad to see someone was able to put it together and make it happen. Hopefully over time it makes for a solid alternative to the same old Windsor Star opinions.

  2. Thanks 9mike9. I have high hopes for this endeavour which will only help to strengthen local coverage.

    I echo your sentiments in that I”m glad someone helped to organize this.

  3. windsorreader

    There is already a website out there I read out there daily that is citizen journalism. windsorite.ca provides a alternate source of news for Windsor. It’s to bad instead of trying to go on there own, the people of “The Square” couldn’t have teamed up with that website.

  4. For the record I have never been approached by “windsorite.ca” whereas I was approached by The Windsor Square.

    I see no issue with having various sources of information for residents.

    The two websites will serve our community well offering unique perspectives in addition to coverage through the Windsor Star.

  5. amherstburgmac

    I’ve tried ‘the square’ for a couple of weeks now. It’s not for me. Too broad, messy, complex… and chock full of irrelevant and very intrusive advertising. I’ve enjoyed reading the thoughts of yourself and your fellow local bloggers over the last few years. Good Luck.

    • Vincent Clement

      I have to agree with amherstburgmac. The site is messy. This is 2010 not 1995.

      1. Is it “The Square” or “Windsor Square”? On the about page it says “Southwest Ontario’s newest information destination”. On the main page one heading is “Tri-County News”. Is this site Windsor-based or does it cover a larger area? Which three counties? I assume Essex, Chatham-Kent and Lambton, but one of the links is about a Detroit issue.

      The branding is confusing.

      2. Drop the banner ad at the top of the page. This is where the logo should go.

      3. You have the logo with the menu choices (Home, Business, etc). Underneath that, you have “The Square” again. Redundant.

      4. Labels such as “Tri-County News” are too small and should not be in red, a colour that can be difficult to read.

      5. What appears to be the ‘highlights’ section at the top left should automatically rotate through the stories.

      6. Where it says “The Square” beside “RSS” at the bottom of the page should be changed to “About Us”.

      7. And why are comments closed on every Ed Arditti post ;)

      • As with the other comments I have received, I’ve passed these on to the developers of the site.

        With respect to point number 7; that is a question best asked of the writer. I only make decisions with respect to my column on the site.

        • Vincent Clement

          I know nothing can be done about point number 7.

          I just wished that in this new forum, Ed would have welcomed open discussion on his posts. Otherwise, he comes off as another grumpy old man complaining about anything and everything while not offering any real solutions.

  6. Thanks amerstburg.

    Though I don’t find the site – and of course I”m biased because I am now a contributor – difficult to navigate.

    Feature story is at the top left. A three column spread featuring the tri-county local news to the immediate right. Menu navigational bar clearly visible at the top.

    There can be some improvements in terms of white space which it could use more of – but generally I find the site to be quite easy to navigate. Perhaps eliminating all the small photographs save for the local news items would help because I will agree that to me seems to clutter it.

    As far as advertising is concerned, what are your suggestions for improvement? The layout is quite typical with banner ads at the top; and small square advertisements at the bottom with the content in between.

  7. amherstburgmac

    Hi Chris,

    Navigation was not one of my “issues” – but to be more precise I think the site tries too hard to be all things for all people. National news, international news, weather, stock prices, sport etc. etc. Lots of old news clogging up the pages (World Cup soccer stories, West Nile programme launch etc.)

    I also feel that the bloggers have lost their identity – when reading a blog piece by you, or Arditti, or whoever, it is now just another piece – along with the dozens of others. I think that loses the “upside” and essence of the “blogosphere”

    The advertisers are numerous and an odd collection – not sure who they think the readership is (Charities, Tourist Board, Point Pelee, the people that make wooden wine boxes, roofing company) – and I just find them annoying and distracting. Fewer, better designed adverts that complement the site in style and intent would be better (for me).

    My comments are not intended to be critical – they are just my observations.

    I think the intent of the website was good (if it was indeed intended to be a local ‘town square’) – and it was obviously a whole pile of work. Just not my cup of tea.

  8. Thanks amherstburg – I’ve passed on your comments.

    Such new endeavours are always a work in progress and accept constructive criticism as you have presented.

    Under Opinion each blogger is listed (I’m not yet as I haven’t finished writing my piece) – perhaps the designers could add the author’s name in the Feature. Not sure – depends on the CSS.

    But thanks – I do appreciate your feedback.

  9. Chris thanks for your comment.

    Good luck working for the Windsor Square!

  10. No open discussion? Forget it.
    No solutions just grumpy old men? HEY that’s me!
    But, I’ve offered my ‘solution’ over and over, but nobody listens. My solution is simple: DON’T TRY TO DO ANYTHING! Government cannot “create” jobs, all they can do is cut taxes and hope business wants to locate here. If they don’t, oh well tough luck for us. I don’t want to hear about any more hare brained schemes from our brainless so-called “leaders”. No Candarel to corner the office market, no Clearly to corner the business on conventions, no wasting more money on the casino to remain empty, no more building arenas in the east end to revitalize the down town ‘core’, no more super anchors, no more nothing JUST STOP WASTING OUR MONEY. Giving these inept fools millions of taxpayer dollars to fool around with is like giving a nuclear bomb to a bunch of spider monkeys. Look, most of them are career civil servants! They don’t KNOW ANYTHING.
    Learn to downsize gracefully and think toward a sustainable economy – the constant growth based on circular consumption is officially over.
    There’s my grump for the day.

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