Woman's Club Hears About Online News Site
Last updated 3/7/2019 at 2:15pm
Chevon Baccus, executive editor and publisher of LakeWalesNews.net spoke to the members of the GFWC Woman's Club of Lake Wales Thursday, March 7 about the community's new online publication.
Baccus told the group that since its soft launch Feb. 13 the online news site has published more than 100 stories and nearly 500 photos. "The site is growing in popularity and readership and we're looking forward to a bright future," Baccus said.
The loss of the local newspaper, The Lake Wales News, two years ago left a real void, Baccus said, so she and a group of other volunteers decided to start publishing online. While someday there might be some special print sections, Baccus said the cost of paper, ink, staffing and delivery of a print publication makes it unlikely the organization will be able to print a weekly paper again.
Baccus said Lake Wales is one of more than 900 communities that have lost their local newspapers in recent years.
"Our local news site will play a vital role as a watchdog of the public interest and a way of connecting the community and promoting what's happening throughout the area," Baccus said. She encouraged the Woman's Club members to offer their opinions and start sending in content - stories, photos and videos. "The good thing about online is we have unlimited space. We can publish just about anything people send."
Baccus pointed out several recent stories about city projects that many people said they'd never heard about, including a possible $500,000 north library and potential expenditure of over $800,000 for the City to purchase and renovate the Lake Wales YMCA. Baccus said one of the more popular recent stories was about the Polk County school district's proposal to add high school grades to McLaughlin Middle School, setting up further competition with the Lake Wales Charter School system.
"We no doubt will write some things people don't like, but we will work hard to provide balance in the stories, getting various opinions so readers can make up their own minds about a project," Baccus said.
Baccus noted that the online site is being produced by volunteers and funded with the help of local businesses committed to becoming "charter sponsors." Future success will depend upon the community sending in stories, photos and videos to keep the content fresh and interesting. People may email content to firstname.lastname@example.org.