Goodbye, The Daily Voice

Owl1Four years.

I should be hearing “Pomp and Circumstance.” I should be lined up on a stage, waiting for a diploma. Four years. That’s an education.

Four years ago, I teamed up with Jack Schofield to launch GraftonTimes.com. I was unemployed, with a year old blog called GreaterGrafton.com. I figured I was already covering Grafton, so I may as well get paid for it.

That little experiment led to 12 town websites.We were sold to a company called Main Street Connect, but no one had any idea what that name meant so they re-named themselves The Daily Voice.

That should have been my first warning. You see, The Daily Voice laid me off today.

Oh darn it. I’ve been out of the blogging business for so long that I’m burying the lede again.

I am once again unemployed. That isn’t the part that hurts, though. I hired a fantastic group of reporters. I tried to be the best boss to them that I could — doing everything the opposite of bosses I didn’t like — and now my awesome crew is out of work.

What is worse? To lose a job because you did it poorly or to lose it despite the fact that you did it so well?

The Massachusetts Daily Voice sites are no more. For readers in Grafton, Shrewsbury, Millbury, Northbridge, Westborough, Northborough, Southborough, Auburn and Leicester, that’s an end to the daily news they’re used to receiving. For readers in Milford and Upton, the websites they were given only two months ago are now gone.

There are seven reporters out of work. One managing editor. Three people in sales. I have no idea what’s going to happen to the Jeep.

I’ve spent the past four years hearing people say “I don’t know how you do it.” I spent most of the time simultaneously covering Grafton and managing the reporters, even after we were acquired by the bigger company that was supposed to make our jobs a little easier. I kept hearing about shortcuts that would bring in new readers, but I did it the only way I knew how — by talking to everyone, covering everything and always bringing my camera along.

Really, seriously, forget about Google shortcuts. Just go where the people are, write about them doing interesting things, tell them where to find you and they’ll follow you to read about it. Do it well and they’ll come back. It’s news, people. It’s not that hard.

Four years. It’s been an education. And like many graduates these days, I’m walking away from my diploma and moving back home.

Ah, Greater Grafton. I’ve missed you.

We’ll get reacquainted after I take a bit of a rest. I think I’ve earned it.

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22 thoughts on “Goodbye, The Daily Voice

  1. Good luck, Jenn. Remember: all pieces of music end; all movies end — that doesn’t make them failures. If anybody contends that your efforts were a failure, tell them they can come back and tell you that after they’ve put up a website, filled it with great content, and managed to sell it to investors.

    In Silicon Valley they call that “an exit” and fund your next company, you know ;-)

  2. It’s very selfish of me, but I’m glad you’re back over here! Not that I wanted you to lose your job to get here! So sorry Jenn!!

  3. I was shocked when I heard about this a little while ago. The Daily Voice sites really provided a great job of providing local news up to the minute. They were my primary source for what was going on in Northbridge and the surrounding towns.

    My condolences to you and all the staff who worked so hard to make such a great product. And thank you for having brought great information to the community for the past four years.

  4. She is my wonderful daughter, but I am not biased! What she has accomplished has continually amazed me. I am so proud of her! She will weather this storm and come out on top, as she has always. She can only go up — and she will. Love you most darling daughter. Always has been “you and me against the world” from the beginning. Now you have your own wonderful family to help you though bad time, but you always have your Dad and Mom, too! XOXO

  5. Jenn – you have a lot to be proud of. I am so sorry to hear about this. Thank you for all you (and your team) have done for Grafton. I for one will miss your comments, humor and coverage of our town.
    Laura Often

  6. So sorry to hear about this. I hate seeing local news outlets lost. We need them all as they all contribute to the fabric of the communities. Looking forward to seeing this blog revived! I know when you first launched it, you gave me hope that local journalism could and would continue even in the world of the big corporations!

  7. Jen: Tough day, I know, but this seems like a perfect example of creative destruction in action. This very blog blog (GG 2.0!) is what made visions of dollar signs dance in certain people’s heads when they think about hyperlocal, because you do the work, do it well and do it with style, and–surprise!–readers notice and follow and learn to trust you and come back day after day.
    Second chance granted! (Who are you, George Bailey?)
    Central Mass’ loss is Grafton’s (re) gain.

  8. Good idea to rest up. Good things ahead for you! Great to see the GG blog interface coming back to life!! BTW – it’s much better to get laid off despite the fact that you did it so well. At least that way, you take YOUR skills with you and can start over again.

  9. Instead of a funeral this can be a new beginning. You have a large following and people who love you. You also have the skills to do a very good job and you have proven this to all of us. Time to rethink online journalism and get back to the newspaper roots. You need a website design and a salesman. Does anyone want to apply?

  10. Sorry to hear about this Jenn. I was realy surprised! But, it’s good to have you back here. :)
    Now we can get back to the interesting stuff, like…Are there too many Chinese restaurants in Grafton? What grocery stores have the best prices? And…of course…Irish Round Towers, real…or just a myth?

  11. Wow Jenn, I am really sorry to hear you are out of work again (and all the others on your team). When Main Street Connect took over, I thought this is great, this hyper local news idea is actually a viable business model. I guess I was wrong?

    There is a need for a Grafton Times type of outlet. I just hope someone can figure out how to make it work.

  12. I’m losing all of my favorite places to post commentary. First Wormtown Taxi then he died, next Jordan Levy Blog and he chickened out, Now the Daily Voice, There’s still WoMag, but it seems we are being driven to the lousy T&G. Jenn, try to talk to Ernie Bock Jr. he claims to be interested in buying the Globe, perhaps you could convince him to try a more local level approach, it’s an idea. Who’s going to tell me when 1/2 of Grafton is obliterated by a massive propane explosion now?

  13. JENN! I was so disappointed to read about this, and would love to talk sometime. This is a real blow for the region, and I can only imagine how depressing it is for you as a dedicated pro. You have always been an inspiration for your hard work, journalistic standards and vision for digital community journalism. Will be watching to see your next act.

  14. Pingback: A despicable way to handle closings and layoffs | Media Nation

  15. I guess I don’t understand the business of local news. People clearly like their local news, so there’s a market for it. Businesses will advertise locally, so there’s income. The internet means you don’t have to pay people to deliver your news. Why do you even need a publisher? Look at it this way, you’ve cut out the middle man. No more annoying boss. Sounds like an improvement to me.

  16. Pingback: Hyperlocal journalism — it SHOULD work, but that’s not always the case | Creating Journalists at Emmanuel College

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