Why Won’t Orange Live Branch Out?

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Jul 282020

In the past two weeks, I’ve been asked several times by friends, web designers looking for business, and other online entities, “Why don’t you branch out and cover news from other towns?”

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.