Get to Know The Publishers
It is an understatement to say that a lot has changed for us as we move into our 4th year of publishing the Holliston Reporter. We wanted to share our reflections on our short tenure — to excerpt highlights of and changes in our experience, as well as lessons we’ve learned.
Each year has brought us closer to Holliston—both by meeting residents and by learning more about the town, its past, its present, and its ideas for the future. We were quite the inexperienced pair in 2019—newcomers to town as well as to the world of news publishing (and editing, and writing, and reporting, and so on). But we began our work on a foundation created by a team of dedicated folks more than 10 years before our arrival, and these people continued to support us with words —both written and spoken—to guide us in those early months.
When the pandemic struck in March of 2020, the quarantine of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts closed down much of Holliston, and the news stream from our little town quickly became the news trickle. With schools going remote and meetings dwindling, the news contained more closings and postponements than happenings. But even for these we were thankful, as they gave us a purpose to write, posting weekly updates of events canceled, postponed, or altered. Very soon, Zoom meetings became the norm, and we could cover two meetings a night, tuning in both upstairs and downstairs in our home to bring readers an update of the workings of your community. In-person events and activities were cancelled for the most part, so our time out of the house was spent largely in the great outdoors, walking the streets of Mudville and the center of town, looking for the tiniest glimpses of hope and cheer to record. We created a new column, “Bright Spots,” that recorded the small but significant and hopeful things we saw and heard that made us smile. Birthday and other drive-by celebrations were made memorable when members of the Holliston Police or Fire Departments joined in. People found creative ways to volunteer, to feed, and to care for those in need in and beyond our community. And the town held in-person elections, providing us with lots of fodder for news. We linked coverage with HCAT recordings, as HCAT was everywhere anything happened!
By 2021, especially with the advent of vaccines and continued adherence to social practices of masking, physical distancing, and postponement of large gatherings, Holliston experienced a resurgence of news. Schools brought back students and staff, the Town Hall and other buildings opened for business, the Library and Senior Center modified their openings to the public, and Holliston busied itself with making news. We began to attend events with caution, now able to take photos and in person notes. Our walks around town helped us to observe the increase in traffic and the return of the school bus as people began to leave their homes. Zoom meetings surged forward—a great convenience for all who were virus-vulnerable or weather-weary. As our little world enlarged, we condensed our publication schedule to three days a week beginning in August. Although our 4 AM wake-ups are now limited, the new schedule has reminded us that news still happens daily. Omicron has reminded us that nothing is constant, and everything is fluid.
What will 2022 bring? More learning, we imagine. Instead of predicting, we’re reviewing—here are some of the things we’ve learned in our tenure with the Reporter:
• We’ve learned not to plan too far ahead. Although we are both planners (“Plan your work and work your plan” is our motto), we know that sometimes the unexpected can bring great joy.
• New ways can be even better than previous ones. We love using Zoom to cover meetings and events. The “hybrid model” of an in-person as well as an at-home version has aided attendance at meetings, houses of worship, family reunions, and has eased traffic, parking, and travel inconveniences.
• A greater appreciation for others’ good times and more empathy for those in need. Looking outward frequently made us more conscious of what we have.
• Our work to bring you the news of Holliston has cemented our great love and admiration for the residents who live and work here, the residents who volunteer their time and energy to make things happen in town (town government, sports and activities, supporting friends and neighbors and the greater communities in which they live) and those who devote their lives to Holliston although they reside elsewhere—the educational community, the business and economic community, those who keep us safe, and the greater community of family and friends.
We thank our advertisers, a loyal and steadfast group. Most of our advertisers have a history with the Holliston Reporter that began long before our time. Some new supporters deserve thanks not only for their support of bringing you Holliston news, but also for their efforts to enhance the economy of Holliston and provide residents with new choices and services. We encourage our readers to frequent these establishments and providers of services and “shop local.” Our revenue from advertisements supports our website maintenance and development; remaining funds support selected town non-profits.
Thank you to our readers—every one of you who has made it a practice to keep up with Holliston news by reading an exclusively online news source. With no print newspaper to consult for local news, you have joined those across America who have lost paper and chosen the Internet to keep you “in the know.” Our readers number in the thousands, making our work seem of consequence.
With best wishes for a safe, healthy, and happy 2022,
Yvette and Chris Cain, Publishers