To make it official, I am thrilled to formally announce that I am taking on a new project as owner of NorthEndBoston.com. As the #1 website portal in the North End, the site serves as an information resource for visitors, residents, businesses and all those who wish to know more about our neighborhood – its past and its present.
First, I want to recognize that NorthEndBoston.com was the creation of the North End’s friend, Guild Nichols, who passed away a little over a year ago. Guild’s wife, Ann, lives in California offered me the opportunity to purchase the website. Of course, I said yes! Guild was ahead of his time and founded NorthEndBoston.com in January 1999. When I started NorthEndWaterfront.com ten years later, he was an enthusiastic supporter and we happily collaborated on several projects. I knew I was doing something right when Guild made NorthEndWaterfront.com the “news” section of NorthEndBoston.com, helping put my blog on the map. His files are truly a historical treasure, entwined with endless whimsical notes from his many years of neighborhood tours and research. I’m honored to follow in his footsteps and look forward to bringing his decades of neighborhood history onto the site.
NorthEndBoston.com is the “go-to” reference guide serving the various constituencies of the North End, including tourists, visitors, businesses, workers and residents. It is NOT A NEWS SITE OR BLOG. Rather, it’s mission is to be a “portal” that “opens doors” with its pages of directories, history, photos, maps and resources. While NorthEndWaterfront.com is updated almost daily, the information on NorthEndBoston.com will be more “permanent.” I also hope to finally develop a fantastic set of photo galleries for the new site.
The “new” site is very much a work in progress. So far, I’ve updated the theme and geared the site as a portal for “All Things North End.” It will take months to get all the internal pages upgraded. I plan to keep much of Guild’s classic and useful information intact adding my own brand of photography with a dose of interactive maps and tools. In addition to directories and information, the new site will present opportunities for “Buy Local” campaigns and other ways to interact with neighborhood shops and businesses. I encourage you to take a look at the site today, knowing there are are grand plans in the works to enhance the site with new content and features. I don’t want to let all of the cats out of the bag, but there will be many surprises to come.
NorthEndBoston.com is part of North End Boston LLC and will accept advertising. That’s what makes it sustainable. I’ve been thinking more about how to keep this all going. I may be willing to work essentially as a volunteer but I can’t really expect others to do that over the long haul. It is important to bring in new blood for important projects on both sites. Much of the site’s proceeds will be invested back into the community at large. One of our first contributions is to help sponsor the Summer Music Concert Series on the Prado by the North End Music and Performing Arts Center. There may eventually be enough revenue to actually pay for some freelance reporting too, but we’re taking this one step at a time. (Find out more about advertising on NorthEndBoston.com.)
There will be no change to NorthEndWaterfront.com as the primary source for all the “News and Views” of the North End / Waterfront community. NorthEndWaterfront.com will remain ad-free and non-commercial in nature. Given its community focus, it seems to work better that way. This is a news site that makes full use of a blog-like content management system generating feeds of dynamic news content and serves as a base for photojournalism, including exhaustive video-based documentation. Someday, there may be a way to appropriately bring sponsorship opportunities to NorthEndWaterfront.com (again, thinking about long-term sustainability), but there are no plans for that in the foreseeable future.
My intent is to manage each site separately other than some linking back and forth where it makes sense. For example, some of the static pages that no one knows about, buried in the menus of NorthEndWaterfront.com, may eventually move to NorthEndBoston.com where they can be more useful. Alternatively, some of the resources, history and tools on NorthEndBoston.com may occasionally appear back on the news site.
It should go without saying that there will be no influence on the editorial content of NorthEndWaterfront.com by advertisers from NorthEndBoston.com. Most online and print services accept advertising and I don’t expect this to be a problem. Of course, I will continue to highlight openings, closings, reviews and news-related business items but our opinions will remain our own. By the way, I still have another day job and I’m nowhere near retirement.
Let me close by saying thank you to the community for supporting me in this hobby, turned obsession. NorthEndWaterfront.com is entering its fifth year of existence. It’s going strong, with more contributors, a growing readership and heading toward even greater things. All of it is thanks to you. This site would be nothing without your news, opinions, photos and tips. I thank the community leaders, neighbors and business owners for all their encouragement. Who knows what the future holds? There will always be some dark corners and the challenges that come with change, but I feel the community getting stronger on several fronts.
And now, I hope you will like what happens at NorthEndBoston.com. If I can help you or if you want to take part in either site, I hope you will reach out. I’m always interested in your feedback and suggestions through the comments section below or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your grateful editor,