From the editor’s desk: On local independence and merit

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It’s been just over four years since I hopped onto the local news scene armed with nothing but an iPhone and a laptop.

Since NRI NOW launched in April of 2018, we’ve gone through a pandemic, elections, changes in both local and national governance and – oh yeah – confirmation of UFOs in case you missed it.

As we reflect upon our last four years, we can’t help but look at our achievements. Published posts: 3441. Readership: 24,000 average visitors per week. Hundreds of town meetings, endless late nights up writing stories, more than 400 published newsletters…

But what’s more important is that we are currently the only truly local, truly independent news source in northern Rhode Island.

What do we mean by local? On NRI NOW, you won’t find a bunch of aggregated national stories. In fact, you’ll seldom find anything that doesn’t directly affect the three communities we cover: Burrillville, Glocester and North Smithfield. That’s not because we don’t have the material. As editor, I receive messages daily from outside parties willing to pay me for the privilege of using this space for their content. I do not respond unless they #1 are local #2 have something of merit to provide. We consider the space, and what we’ve aimed to build, too valuable.

But what does it mean to have merit? It means, if you see it on this website, we believe it’s information that is useful. We’re always happy to feature local businesses – particularly when they have exciting news, like a grand opening or an expansion – but you can’t buy our editorial content. It’s not for sale. We’re highlighting others in the community, not thinly disguising ads in hopes to make profit.

On the subject of profit, yes, we do aim to make one and yes, that is through advertising (see paid ad below). But ads are not our main product and we will never disguise a paid advertisement as news. It’s against our values. As a matter of fact, it goes directly against all traditional news values, and we are traditional news, albeit in a new(er) medium. Therefore, we promise the news you see here will never be paid for, and in the instances when we are publishing an opinion, such as this, it will be labeled as such.

Independence remains another important concept to us here at NRI NOW. We are not owned by some large, shadow out-of-state company. Your publisher (that’s me!) was born and bred here in northern Rhode Island. I own a home in North Smithfield and am affected by many of the same issues about which I aim to inform others. I patronize your businesses, keep it local whenever possible and always keep my ear to the ground for the issues that matter to you.

As we enter our fifth year, we want you to know that we remain grateful for your readership, and committed to adding value to the community by keeping the public informed – and protecting the vital role actual news plays in any functional democracy.

Your publisher, founder and local unrelenting newshound,

Sandy Seoane

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