The April Fools Day post on theLoop detailing the acquisition of our little local multimedia newspaper by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. didn’t fool a single person. It apparently fooled dozens of them.
I am not just talking about my Aunt Bunny in Florida whose high-pitched voice mail message of breathless glee nearly caused my partner, Diana, to drive off the Hutch in hysterics.
Even an Academic at the CUNY Graduate Journalism School, where I occasionally teach, offered her congratulations for all my hard work over the years, asking, “Will you still remain involved?”
An email from a nice Larchmont man this morning congratulating me says “That’s HUGE! Once AOL started rolling up sites with the Patch I’m sure you knew it was either stay independent or join a larger organization.”
“I heard a rumor!,” wrote a Larchmont shop owner.
“When do we drink champaign (sic) !?!!!?” wrote a friend.
“This is a smart purchase for them!” wrote another.
My son’s friend’s mother, who used to work for Murdoch, approached the subject gently: “I hear there may be changes?”
I have two things to say about all this. First, we are extremely flattered that so many smart people actually thought this was possible.
And secondly, it won’t happen anytime soon.
It is true that faceless corporations with no stake in communities like ours do pitch local web tents in affluent communities where there are ad dollars. There’s actually another one on the way with some current sites in Connecticut. Its CEO recently offered me a job, saying, “We’re going to put you out of business anyway.”
And there is the fact that Roger Ailes of Fox News recently acquired a small local newspaper in Cold Spring, NY.
So while we may be run by a tiny team of dedicated journalists, many working for free, we are a community site that’s in this community and cares about it. Entrepreneurial as we try to be, theLoop was built on the passion of its creators, not with the goal to sell out to a patchwork of cookie cutter sites. We don’t cover every meeting or do a breathless feature on every bank branch; we prefer to curate the news we think you want and add our own voices when it feels right to.
And to those who assume this audience of 35,000 will begin to feel too small to us, it won’t. Besides, both editors of theLoop still work in ‘mainstream media” and are active in, for lack of a better term, the Future of Journalism Movement.
So theLoop won’t soon look like the New York Post. But I kinda like that idea of a crossword puzzle.