As I sit here at my computer, mere hours away from the official launch of www.douglasnow.com, I find myself excited, puzzled, encouraged, and maybe just a little scared. This venture is the culmination of over five years of planning, thinking, pondering, and procrastinating. Way back in January of 2009, the idea for a completely online source of news for Douglas and Coffee County first popped into my head. I discussed it with the late John Langford and he agreed with me – it was something that needed to happen sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, it would be later.
Mr. Langford is no longer with us. During our days with The Douglas News, Mr. Langford was an invaluable member of our team. I wish he were here to be a part of Douglas Now. Over the years, I kept putting my online news media idea to the backburner.
I flirted with it with The South Georgian, the student newspaper at South Georgia State College. Several years ago, we moved The South Georgian to electronic format with the intent of covering local news as well as campus happenings. While we had our moments when we did some good work outside of the confines of the SGSC campus, that never really took off, either.
So what finally inspired me to move on this project now? It was, believe it or not, a goofy Facebook meme. I saw a meme on a friend’s page, Tom Crutchfield, a reptile breeder down in Homestead, Fla. That meme said something to the effect of “You know those things you keep saying you want to do? Why don’t you go ahead and do them?” I made up my mind right there that I would do something with my idea this year.
I had the idea. I knew the financing wouldn’t be a problem. What I needed was some help. What I didn’t realize was at the same time I was pondering this idea, another group of people was doing the same thing. Collectively, for over seven years, the two groups had been looking for a way to bring online, real-time news to Douglas and Coffee County. About two months ago, we all got on the same page and met to discuss how to best pool our resources. The result is what you see today.
I have not been a full-time journalist for many years. I have, however, written in some form or fashion, since 1992. It is incredible how the world of journalism has changed. Never in a million years did I think that I would be working for a completely electronic news outlet – much less one located right here in Douglas.
We live in a world of instant communication. We want our information immediately. Even daily newspapers are somewhat dated. People want to know what’s going on in real time. Twenty-four hours later is too long. Sometimes, eight hours is too long. With Twitter, Facebook, and the various other social media outlets, news breaks constantly. There isn’t a 24 hour news cycle anymore; it’s more like a 60 minute news cycle.
It makes for a hectic, stressful, and competitive environment in which to work. It’s something that locally, we aren’t used to. In some regard, our team isn’t used to working in this kind of environment, either. Challenging though it may be, we are excited about bringing this resource to Douglas and Coffee County. I can assure you our team is 100 percent local with tremendous experience in the Douglas media market. We strive to give you the best and most up-to-the-minute news coverage you can find anywhere.
It won’t be easy but the response we’ve gotten already has been incredible. We believe the community wants this kind of resource and we are excited to be the ones bringing it to you. We look forward to the days ahead.