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5 days ago, 08/14/2014 at 3:49pm Delete

What is News?

What is news? What should be printed in the paper?

The answer to those two questions is different for each one of us. What one person sees as something the community should know is another’s invasion of privacy and no one else’s business.

When a person is wronged, they want the culprit, as they see it, named in bold letters in the newspaper. If accused themselves, they don’t think it should be in the paper at all.

Let’s take arrests. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office provides a list of persons arrested, the charge, their home address and the location of their arrest. Some community newspapers print that list every week. We do not. Primarily because fairness demands that if we’re going to report that someone was arrested, we should report the final disposition of the case, including if they were found innocent, if that is the case. To provide that level of fair coverage of arrests and follow-up would require more time and space and staff than our newspaper can provide.

So, while we understand that if a drunken driver hits you, you want their name in the paper, we’re not going to do that, because we can’t follow that case to its conclusion.

Also, from our interaction with the community, we hear that most of our readers aren’t interested in who got arrested for what last week.

We could list the calls we get on deadbeat tenants or bad landlords, or the neighbors who won’t stop playing their music too loud. We realize that this may be a huge issue for the affected parties; it isn’t for the vast majority of our readers.

There’s also a little issue of liability. Ours. If a situation is likely to involve a legal battle, we’re going to let the lawyers battle it out. Yours. Our job is not to allow one or the other party in a private legal matter to use the newspaper to publicly call out or shame someone. Not our job. If it’s a legal issue, hire a lawyer and go after them.

Readers are interested in knowing about crime activity on the beach, especially when it’s in their neighborhood. We’ve encouraged Islanders to utilize the crime mapping program on the LCSO website or via crimereports.com, where you can sign up for emailed reports on what crimes have been committed in any neighborhood you specify.
 
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Issue-705's Top Story 5 days ago, 08/14/2014 at 3:54pm

Robin CurleyFor the Love of Robin

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. When that person is a close friend whose kind smile and endless generosity has affected hundreds - if not thousands - in two cities, it seems particularly unfair. The good thing is that in times of sadness friends and family tend to circle their wagons around their loved one and do whatever they can to help that person get through their time of strife. Such is the case with "Rockin' Robin Curley, beloved long-time islander and now Cape Coral resident whose friends are holding two benefits to help her in her fight against colon cancer.
Street Artist 5 days ago, 08/14/2014 at 4:06pm
Chester RogersChester Rogers, Street Artist
Beach Tour 2014

"The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude." Friedrich Nietzsche

We have the good fortune of living on an island where many performers and artists find inspiration and an audience for their creations. One such is a man we have all seen set up under the olive tree in the northwest corner of the Surf Club lot on weekdays, and ensconced in the Dairy Queen in Time Square on the weekends, surrounded by an array of pencils, charcoal and finished drawings fluttering about.

New School Year 5 days ago, 08/14/2014 at 4:00pm

School Starts MondaySchool Starts Monday!

It's hard to believe with the temperature dancing around the 3-digit mark, but summer is almost over. On Monday, August 18, all Lee County students return to the classroom for the start of the 2014/2015 school year. While most island parents have no doubt had this date ingrained into their brains since shortly after the Fourth of July, those of our readers without kids need to remember that now is the time to slow down and be extra aware of young ones crossing the street and getting on and off of busses.

Council Workshop10 hours ago

Craft Beer FestivalCouncil Workshop Discusses
Budget, Craft Beer Festival

At their workshop on Monday morning, the Town Council looked at a preliminary budget for the coming year and discussed the possibility of having a Craft Beer Festival at Bay Oaks to generate income for their teen and youth programs.

As Council ran through the list of all the budget items, Mandel questioned a $20,000 increase in the Town’s contract with Central Parking and voiced a concern about the Town’s legal expenses.

Teen Challenge2 weeks ago, 08/06/2014 at 4:03pm

Teen Challenge StoreTeen Challenge More Than
Just a Thrift Store

Two years ago, the Sand Paper did a story about a pretty amazing faith-based recovery program that enjoys a whopping 87% success rate. Today we are happy to report that the southwest Florida chapter of Teen Challenge International is opening the doors of their brand new Super Thrift Store - conveniently located across from Big Lots at the corner of San Carlos Boulevard and Gladiolus in the building formerly occupied by Furniture World. This mega-store will feature everything from clothes to cars (yes, cars) and will be staffed by the program's students, so shoppers can see first-hand how their dollars are helping others.

Founded in Brooklyn in 1958 by David Wilkerson, Teen Challenge International is a 501-c3 non-profit organization that has 265 chapters in the United States alone.

 
 

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A view of Fort Myers Beach from outside of the Gulf Shore Grill.
A quiet view of the beach during this 2014 off season, hot, hot, hot summer. Video courtesy of Gary Swanson.
Did you know?

While we are definitely a small, independent newspaper, I would say our audience and reader population is not. Why? Between our 5 platforms:

  1. Weekly newspaper - 750,000 readers per year
  2. Monthly magazine - 100,000 readers per year (conservative estimate of 1.5 readers per issue)
  3. Newspaper website - 600,000 unique visitors per year
  4. Mobile web app - est first year visitors/users 100,000
  5. Social media presence - estimate next twelve months traffic 100,000

We can expect to reach a total of 1,650,000 readers and viewers in the upcoming 12 months! By Islanders For Islanders since 2000.

Back Page Girl
Summer Re-run! This week’s Back Page Girls are Kristen and Jackie who enjoy hanging out on the beach, playing beach volleyball, and spending time with each other and their families. Click on the image to enlarge it. If you'd like to become a Back Page Girl ...
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