Beginning tomorrow the list of Adirondack Almanack contributors will grow once again with the addition of our first dedicated outdoor recreation writer – Kevin MacKenzie, known as “MudRat” at several hiking forums where he is active (including Summitpost and ADK High Peaks Forum).
MacKenzie will be offering a weekly contribution on a variety of outdoor sports topics, including covering issues around access, events, sensitive flora and fauna issues for the back country, DEC camping policy, and more. His regular reports will appear on Monday afternoon at 3 pm. Kevin’s love of the Adirondacks began, he says, “even before I was born, when my family bought a small bit of property across from the Ausable’s East Branch.” Only a half day’s drive away from where he grew up, the Adirondacks became a central theme to all his family vacations. Time spent in “the mountains,” MacKenzie told me, made an impression that intensified throughout his childhood and into his adult years. “The only problem was,” he said, “by that point, I’d lived on west coast of Florida for nearly twenty years and was pretty entrenched.”
Kevin finally returned for good to the Lake Placid area in 2003 after encouragement from a Lake Placid friend (who he now calls his wife); he is Assistant Registrar at St. Lawrence University in Canton.
Adirondack Almanack is delighted to announce that Brian McAllister is joining the site as resident bird columnist. Brian is a naturalist, educator and one of the Adirondack Park’s most dedicated birdwatchers. His interest in all things avian often takes him beyond the Blue Line (two trips to Cape May this fall alone).
Starting tomorrow, Brian will post birding news every other Thursday at noon. We feel very lucky to know him and to introduce him to Almanack readers. In his professional life Brian has taught ornithology lab and how to interpret habitats at Paul Smith’s College. The Saranac Lake resident has been involved for six years in an Adirondack boreal bird survey for Wildlife Conservation Society. He also served as a natural history consultant to the Wild Center, a naturalist with the Adirondack Park Visitor Interpretive Centers and the Adirondack Mountain Club, as well as field assistant with the Adirondack Cooperative Loon Program. He helped the Adirondack Trail Improvement Society design a natural history education program and is one of the founders of the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration.
He’s also just the best guy to take a walk in the woods with. He notices things most of us don’t, knows what they are and is able to open your eyes and ears to them in a way that never leaves you. We welcome him to the Almanack.
Photograph: Brian McAllister on Ampersand Mountain
There are big changes happening here at the Adirondack Almanack. In the coming weeks we’ll be rolling out a new design and adding some new contributors. Our first is Anthony F. Hall, editor and publisher of the Lake George Mirror, who will be offering news each week from the Lake George basin (on Fridays at noon).
Tony grew up in Warrensburg and after an education that included studying with beat poet Gregory Corso on an island in the Aegean, crewing a schooner in Hawaii, traveling through Greece and Turkey studying Byzantine art and archeology, and a stint at Lehman Brothers, he returned to the Adirondacks and took a job with legendary state senator Ron Stafford. In 1998, Tony and his wife Lisa acquired the Lake George Mirror, once part of a chain of weekly newspapers owned by his father Rob Hall. Established in the 1880s, the Mirror is America’s oldest resort newspaper.
Schenectady’s Daily Gazette has told its online readers to find their news elsewhere. After a failed attempt to charge online readers ended in 2007, the Gazette‘s online traffic exploded to 1.5 million page views monthly (according to Managing Editor Judy Patrick). No matter, those in charge at the paper apparently think the future is in print media and charging people for what they can find elsewhere for free.
Just for fun, you can read the story at the still online Albany Times Union which reported that beginning last week “the Schenectady paper will reserve the free section of its Web site for blogs, breaking news and some other features. Only paying subscribers, meanwhile, will have access to expanded online content, including articles that appear in the print edition.” The new pay plan is showing that those running the Gazette are confused and scared. Just ask Gazette reporter Jason Subik, who reported in January 2008, just after the paper went online for free, and in an article titled “Newspapers’ free online content gives readers what they want, brings needed revenue boost,” that “Today newspapers are finding new ways to compete and rethinking what it means to scoop the competition, as they publish online as well as in print….” – that’s all you get, because I’m not paying for a nearly two year old slanted piece of self-service “news.”
My guess is that the Gazette’s return to the pay model will mean fewer subscribers, fewer links to their web page, and less involvement of the local community in their news. The Gazette will lose its standing as Schenectady’s newspaper of record, at least online.
I suspect that tens of thousands of links to the Gazette will be broken across the internet. Dozens of links from Adirondack Almanack will be broken, and future readers of this site will be pointed to the reports from other places.
Those who rely on the online edition of the paper because their print edition (yesterday’s news anyway) wouldn’t arrive before they head off to work will find other news sources.
Those who place obituaries will think twice if loved ones across the country can’t read the obit online.
But the bottom line is the move to a pay site will do nothing to stem the tide of lost revenue, began with loss of print subscribers that followed the advent of widespread cable television and 24-hour news channels in the early 1990s – ten years before blogs and news aggregators came to the fore.
Newspapers get most of their revenue from advertising – when they produce quality content that people want to read they grow their audience and garner more advertising dollars. You’d think it would be obvious that cutting access to the paper doesn’t grow its audience. As one commenter to the paper put it simply – “That’s hilarious. Good luck with that.”
I expect they will come out of the woodwork now – the “nothing is free” crowd – to tell me how we shouldn’t expect news for free. That idea is laughable.
Radio news is free. Television news is free. Plenty of books, magazines, and newspapers are all free at the library, cafes, and a hundred other places, even the dentist office. They all carry news – local, national, and international.
In this day and age those who make money from subscribers for general news delivery are a dying breed.
Here’s the problem for the Gazette as it relates to just one subject – the Adirondacks. Many of the links to the paper over the years here at the Almanack were related to the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, which has been based (in part at least) in Niskayuna, just outside Schenectady. Now that we can no longer link to the Gazette, we’ll have to go here, or here. That’s what good online journals do best – they find the news at its source, not filtered through the biases of local reporters, editors, and publishers.
Soon enough, most municipalities in America will have at least two online writers reporting on what happens with their local politics from differing perspectives. Specific subjects, like the Supreme Court, New York Politics, and the Adirondacks, already have active online journals that cover their areas, often more thoroughly, or more widely, or with a more independent mind, then any local paper ever could or will.
When that trend – individual independent citizens reporting on their own from all walks of life – is finally entrenched, we’ll look back and laugh at how naive people were to think that it was “buy a newspaper, or don’t get news.”
Some think that site’s like the Adirodnack Almanack rely on free local news online, but they’re off the mark. We get our news just like everyone else in the media does – through investigative legwork, media releases, and research. We curate what’s happening in the Adirondacks and show people where to find it. Rarely does that require a local newspaper, which, after all, the Almanack is not.
I’m sorry to see the Gazette go – but go it will. The print newspaper era is waning, the monopoly of the old media is nearly over. As papers like the Gazette leave the online world – and make no mistake, that is what they are doing – others will take their place.
August 8: An informal talk about Adirondack blogging, trends in local media history, the new book, and their connection to Hulett’s Landing at 7:30 pm, this Saturday, August 8th, at the Hulett’s Landing Casino.
August 9: Book signing at The Adirondack Reader in Inlet, NY on Sunday, August 9th from 1-3pm September 12: Book signing at The Open Door Bookstore in Schenectady on Saturday, September 12th from 1-2:30pm.
September 19: Book signing at Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid on Saturday, September 19th at 2:00pm.
Please join me in welcoming our sixth regular contributor to Adirondack Alamanack, Diane Chase. Diane says she is “first and foremost the mother of two young children and continues to seek and write about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities.” In other words, she says, “I really just want to have fun with my children so I write about family activities as an excuse to be able to play.” Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, August 5th, Diane will be making weekly contributions with a focus on Adirondack activities for the whole family. She will be writing a regular Tuesday, 3 p.m. piece and may also contribute occasionally at other times as well. From her home in Saranac Lake Diane also writes a weekly family oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and speaks and reads at library story hours engaging children in creative play. She moved to the Adirondacks in 2002 with her husband (middle school teacher, 46er and avid hiker), young son and expecting her second child. While taking care of her young children she was able to take time to explore and rediscover fun family–friendly activities and enjoys sharing them with friends.
Diane has 20 years marketing and writing experience. She worked for The Sailing Company: Cruising World, Sailing World and Sailing Business magazines from editorial to the art department. She continues to freelance for The Sailing Company and to work in marketing. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies. She is involved in writing groups and writing workshops.
The original Casino was built on the over the waters of Lake George at Hulett’s Landing in 1917-18 and burned down in 1953. It was rebuilt in the center of the community in 1954 and operated until 1973. It was closed for 16 years before Al Kapusinski reopened it in 1989. It’s the only establishment in Hulett’s for dining and drinking.
It’s finally here. The book Historic Tales from the Adirondack Almanack is now available to pre-order from Amazon.com.
The book, published by The History Press, is a compilation of history essays from the last four years of the Almanack. It’s the Adirondack region’s first blog-to-book and a great way to help support the Almanack.
Our own Shamim Allen – that’s her at left while attending an all-girls high school in Dobbs Ferry, circa Bad – reports here every Thursday afternoon on the unique and eclectic Adirondack music scene. Last week she took the occasion of Michael Jackson’s death to relate the story of her poignant parlay with the mainstream pop presence, even though she was (and still is) way more into Rush.
The Ten Dollar Radio Show scooped the Almanack’s backyard, so now dutifully we bow our heads and click our mouses over to www.tendollarradioshow.com (“sounds like a million bucks and plays for free”). The site is the work of Peter Crowley and Ned Rauch, two North Country newsmen, musicians and music geeks. If you are within range of WLPW/WRGR (105.5 or 102.3) in the Tri-Lakes, tune in 6-8 p.m. every Sunday evening. If you’re not, visit Ten Dollar’s Web site for the podcast.
I just got word that my new book, Historic Tales from the Adirondack Almanack, should be available for purchase in mid-July; it’s being published by The History Press.
Over the past four years I’ve tried to offer a look at the modern Adirondack Park that includes historical context to today’s political, cultural, and economic news and trends. For example, when mining accidents made national news, I wrote about the mining accidents that occurred in the Adirondack region with regular frequency in the 19th and 20th centuries. When the excursion boat Ethan Allen sank in October 2005, I wrote about similar accidents on Lake George that had also taken a large number of lives. When debate raged over allowing floatplanes to continue to land on Lows Lake, I wrote a short history of development there. Local events, places, and attitudes have been source of fodder for Adirondack Almanack’s historical cannon. Bank robberies, the Ku Klux Klan, snowmobiling, gambling, railroads, buried treasure, raising hops, rattlesnakes and earthquakes are just a few of things that inspired historical pieces about the Adirondack Park. They are all collected here, with a few whimsical historical explorations thrown in for good measure. These essays were meant to be glimpses of history, short pieces on context, not usually complete historical narratives – although a five-part history of snowmobiling in the Adirondacks may be an exception. I’ve edited them lightly trying to preserve their character while translating them from the internet page to printed page.
Thanks are due to the many readers of Adirondack Almanack, many of whom provided feedback and encouragement when these stories were first posted. I hope you’ll find the new book worthwhile. I will post information about how to get a copy in the coming weeks along with some events that are being scheduled around the book.
Please join me in welcoming North Country Community College (NCCC) as a sponsor for Adirondack Almanack. Support from advertisers like NCCC helps make the Almanack possible. If you are interested in supporting Adirondack Almanack through advertising, let us know.
The people of Essex and Franklin Counties of New York founded North Country Community College in 1967. The College’s mission is to provide the highest quality public, post secondary education to area residents, as well as those outside the region, who desire to live, learn and grow in a unique educational setting. NCCC maintains a strong reputation for progressive academic curriculum that is anchored in the liberal arts tradition. College programs are ideal for those students who plan on attaining a 2 or 4 year degree, as well as those seeking a career change.
Begun in the spring of 2005, the Almanack has grown to be the region’s most popular online journal of news and opinion, covering local politics, culture, history, regional development, outdoor recreation, the environment and other issues. Adirondack Almanack has become a go-to regional news resource for Adirondackers and for those outside the park who want to stay current on Adirondack news and events.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to Almanack founder and editor John Warren.
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