Huge news in the world of hyperlocal journalism: Julie McCay Turner, the managing editor of The Bedford Citizen, is retiring. Turner is one of three co-founders who launched the nonprofit digital news project in 2012.
In recent years the Citizen has ramped up its fundraising, and what was once a volunteer project is now what you might call pro/am, with paid and unpaid contributions. The board is in a position to be able to hire a replacement, which was not the case a few years ago. “As I step away from my position as managing editor, I’m humbled and grateful to have been part of the Citizen’s first decade,” she writes. “It’s been an amazing run, and I look forward to helping to set a course for the second decade.”
The Citizen is one of the projects that Ellen Clegg and I are tracking for our book project, “What Works: The Future of Local News,” and I’ve had the privilege of spending time with Turner and other Citizen folks during the past year. They are a model for what a community can do in the face of downsizing chain journalism. Indeed, Gannett’s Bedford Minuteman was closed earlier this year, which means the Citizen is the only news source in town.
Congratulations, good luck and best wishes to Julie, who will stay until a successor is named and then move into a new, as yet undefined role. Last December she told me she was still working well over 40 hours a week at an age when most people are retired. I hope she’s got something fun planned.