When I tell the web people seeking my business that I only cover Orange, even though the highest percentage of my readers are in Milford, they question why I don’t expand into Milford.
The answer is simple, my upbringing, and the fact that eight years ago when I launched Orange Live, I promised my readers that I would remain true to my word to only cover news that involved the town of Orange.
If I can’t stand by my word, then how can anyone ever believe they can trust a word I say?
Every other news outlet covers some other town, usually for the money they can make from it — Orange AND Milford; Orange AND Woodbridge; Orange, Bethany, Woodbridge, AND Milford.
From the start in May 2012, I promised to only cover Orange, incorporating news from Amity High School because Orange residents go there, AND the Beardsley Zoo, because it is Connecticut’s Zoo, a treasure that’s only a short drive from Orange. It offers learning opportunities for children and adults and it is a wonderful resource right in our backyard, so to speak.
Yes, occasionally, I have posted a bear sighting in Woodbridge if it is close to the town border, because ultimately a black bear will show up in Orange within a week or two after being seen over there.
Other than that, I have remained true to my promise.
A turning point
Before my strokes in 2009, I covered the three Amity towns in a newspaper every week for more than 10 years, running from Bethany, Orange, and Woodbridge, juggling school plays and events, summer activities, parades, senior activities, veterans’ affairs, tri-town meetings, and police blotters. And I did it well. Back then I won several awards for my writing and photography, and everyone knew who I was. My face was plastered on page 4 on my column every week, so how could you miss me?
I slowed down a bit after that, with seizures being the only after-effects of the strokes. They hindered my memory and comprehension, and when they would hit were unpredictable.
I left the newspaper for a new Online-only company, which I made into a household name within a few months.
After a couple of years, I didn’t like the direction they were taking, as they opened hundreds of new sites at once, which put a strain on the mother company’s finances, which trickled down to the individual site editors.
They wanted us to take news from other sources, publish a paragraph or two, then link back to the source. “That’s not what I was hired to do.” I told my very young ‘boss.’ I was fired for insubordination.
On my own
It was a big relief. I walked away from a good-paying job and that night I started Orange Live, introducing it on Facebook, and launching the site three days later.
Being my own boss has its perks, I don’t have to put my face on the site – If you know me, you know me, If you don’t, well that’s okay too. I do my best to keep up with what’s going on. I do everything by myself, answering e-mail, editing, writing, photography, ads, posting on the site, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I don’t get paid for anything I do.
I participate in local charities by donating homemade prizes, candy for the Lions Easter Egg Hunt, etc. and I offer my assistance wherever it’s needed.
So, back to the point. Why don’t I expand to other communities? I just love Orange, I know the people, I know the town better than my own, and in many ways, it feels like home to me. Most importantly, my parents raised me to be honest. I gave you my word 8 years ago, and I stand by it now and always will.