The Bedford Citizen, a nonprofit in Boston’s suburbs, names a new managing editor

Wayne Braverman (via LinkedIn)

The Bedford Citizen, one of the first and most successful hyperlocal websites in the Boston suburbs, has hired its second managing editor. Wayne Braverman, a veteran journalist who most recently worked for Gannett, will succeed Julie McCay Turner, who announced her retirement earlier this year.

Turner and two other women founded the Citizen 10 years ago. Originally an all-volunteer project, the outlet slowly morphed into a professional operation that was able to pay Turner and a part-time staff reporter, Mike Rosenberg. The nonprofit continues to be run by a volunteer board of directors. Braverman’s hiring marks the first time that the Citizen will be run by someone who wasn’t one of the founders and thus represents a rather momentous transition. Turner will remain involved in the Citizen as well.

According to Braverman’s LinkedIn profile, he was editor of Gannett’s Boston Homes publication until about two weeks ago, when Gannett closed the publication. He worked as the internship coordinator for GateHouse Media, Gannett’s predecessor company, from 2002-’16 and has also worked as a radio host and public-speaking instructor. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from UMass Lowell.

The Citizen is among the projects that Ellen Clegg and I are writing about in “What Works,” our book-in-progress about the future of local news.

What follows is a press release from Teri Morrow, the Citizen’s executive director:

I want you to be among the first to know: Wayne Braverman — award-winning journalist and Bedford resident — joins The Bedford Citizen as Managing Editor this week.

Wayne brings both reporting and editorial experience as well as considerable enthusiasm for Bedford to the role.

During his career, Wayne has served as a reporter, senior editor, and managing editor in the Boston area. He’s worked for print and online publications. And he has experience expanding the scope of local news.

As you’ll read this week, Wayne says The Bedford Citizen is “considered by many professional journalists to be the model of how people can come together to create a new media outlet to provide residents with effective coverage of their community.”

I hope you are patting yourself on the back! That’s because you are one of the reasons journalists like Wayne consider The Citizen as a model of local journalism! Thank you for standing up for local news.

Throughout the interview process, Wayne shared that he is “ready to carry on the … mission of The Bedford Citizen.” And that he will “work with our staff and the people of Bedford to take [The Citizen] to its next evolutionary level.”

I hope you are as excited as I am to see what happens in the coming months and years with Wayne in the Managing Editor role. Should you see him around town, please share your thoughts and ideas about The Citizen.

Could the Globe do more to fill the local news gap?

The Globe’s YourTown site for Needham circa 2010

Last Thursday we had a terrific panel discussion at Northeastern’s School of Journalism about the local news crisis in Greater Boston. Our panelists were state Rep. Lori Ehrlich, D-Marblehead, the lead sponsor of a state commission on local news that was recently created; retired Boston Globe editorial page editor Ellen Clegg; Yawu Miller, senior editor of The Bay State Banner; Bill Forry, managing editor of The Dorchester Reporter; and Julie McCay Turner, co-founder and managing editor of The Bedford Citizen, a nonprofit website that started as a volunteer project and that has gradually added paid journalism.

You can read Mihiro Shimano’s account at The Scope by clicking here. But I want to pick up on something that Ellen (my research partner on a book about local news) said about The Boston Globe’s role.

I was moderating and couldn’t take notes. But when I asked her about the Globe’s role in local news, she said the paper discovered about 20 years ago that it couldn’t make much of a dent at the hyperlocal level. Readers looked to their community weeklies and dailies for coverage of day-to-day life in their cities and towns. What the Globe could provide, she said, was regional coverage of issues that affected everyone — which is pretty much the mission statement for the paper in general.

As she also pointed out, the Globe now has a digital Rhode Island section, which is in keeping with the regional focus, and covers Newton through a partnership with Boston University. But could the paper do more?

Now that corporate-owned chains have decimated most of the once-strong community papers that circle Boston, I wonder if the Globe might be able to play more of a role. One idea would be to revive the YourTown websites that were unveiled during the last few years of New York Times Co. ownership. YourTown covered not just the Boston suburbs but neighborhoods within the city as well, which remains a crucial need. That was back in the days of the free web, and it proved impossible to sell ads for the sites. Now that everything is subscription-driven, though, would it be possible to try again?

There’s no substitute for independently owned community media, but a greater presence by the Globe — which itself is independently owned — might be the next best thing.

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