Marblehead Beacon Launch Statement
What We Are
We are a digital news source covering local government, education, politics, and culture. Marblehead Beacon includes sections focusing on town government, fiscal issues, schools, and human interest topics, including notable members of our community, opinion pieces, and letters to the editor. Note: With our initial launch in early June 2022, we are making an effort to focus in particular on timely information pertaining to the upcoming town elections. In the weeks and months ahead, our breadth of coverage will expand to include additional topics on a broad range of subjects.
Who We Are
Marblehead Beacon is a grassroots effort by local Marblehead citizens committed to making information more widely available within our community, particularly following the recent departure of The Marblehead Reporter/Gannett from dedicated Marblehead coverage.
Concurrent with our efforts to cover stories that seek to encourage transparency of our governmental institutions, we hold ourselves to journalistic standards integral to building trust with readers. To this end, we wish to share with readers some of the underpinnings of Marblehead Beacon.
We started with a modest budget funded only by our small editorial board, and have not sought out investors or other sources of funding in order to launch. In time we hope to establish a sustainable model by building our credibility and readership base. We encourage open discourse in the form of letters to the editor and community-submitted op-eds.
At the time of our launch, our three founders will have bylines: Jennifer Schaeffner, Lena Robinson, and our youngest contributor, Jared Lederman, who is also serving as our technical director. Submissions by outside writers will be accepted for review. Coverage and editorial decisions are and will be made by Schaeffner, Robinson, and Lederman.
Our Goals and Guiding Principles
We intend to gain the trust, readership, and support of local residents by providing interesting, well-researched stories that take into account multiple political perspectives and focus on improving productive community engagement with local government.
Our guiding principles include a commitment to non-partisanship, accuracy, and professionalism, with a focus on ethical, high-quality news coverage. Our investigative reporting will be informed by Freedom of Information Act and Massachusetts Public Records Law requests as well as direct communication with elected officials and community leaders.
Caveats and Disclosures
Collectively, we at Marblehead Beacon have lived in and engaged professionally and personally with our community for decades. We anticipate that our collective breadth of experiences living and working in Marblehead could involve many previously crossed paths, and for this we are grateful, as it allows us to come at stories with a strong foundational framework.
While this is a source of pride for us, it also means we come to the Marblehead Beacon table with inherent biases: experiences raising families in Marblehead, establishing local friendships and business relationships, owning homes, paying taxes, and so much more; these are all things that can generate strong opinions. And strong opinions do not belong in straight news reporting.
To overcome allowing what is baked into our life views from seeping into our coverage, we are committed to focusing heavily on sourcing (and providing links when available) what we report, as well as having a high bar on disclosure of potential conflicts. While past experiences may inform our knowledge base on subjects covered, it is our goal and expectation to handle such topics from a facts-first position, alerting our readers of our potential conflicts where pertinent.
While we will do our very best to catch and disclose any instances of potential conflicts, should we miss the mark in our coverage, we hope and expect that our readers will tell us.
We at Marblehead Beacon look forward to engaging with the people of 01945.