So, now that we’re officially part of the Google News Initiative — one of only 23 U.S. companies to receive financial support for their news operations from the world’s largest tech company — a lot of people have been asking me what to expect in terms of our promised new formats and new online programming.

Some of what we’ll be doing with Google’s funding — in addition to making major changes to all of our online content (more on this below) — will be business as usual, there will just be more frequent releases.

We will still have News Desks with yours truly and former Bay News 9 reporter Susanna Martinez. I also will continue to provide Neighborhood Dining News and Entertainment segments. We’ll also have more North Tampa Bay Chamber (NTBC) Featured Business segments with our Featured Business host Mollyana Ward (see top right photo), as well as occasional news updates from the Chamber itself. For example, Mollyana recently interviewed Chamber president & CEO Hope Allen (photo below) and those segments have been getting a lot of views, both on YouTube and on Facebook. 

But, we’re also working on a lot of new stuff, too, like the recently posted fun new segment featuring Jennifer Ames, the administrator of the Wesley Chapel Community Facebook page, which has more than 16,000 members. This is our first effort to tap into the power of local online resources outside of our own website (NTNeighborhoodNews.com), “Neighborhood News” Facebook page and our WCNT-tv YouTube channel.

Jennifer’s first segments have just been released and I think you’ll really enjoy them. Her personality is a big part of why the Wesley Chapel Community Facebook page is so popular and it definitely shines through in her first interview with me in front of the camera. Jen’s “Chappie Chatter” segments will be a light-hearted look at what’s been “blowing up” her Facebook page and I’ll be really surprised if Neighborhood News readers and Wesley Chapel & New Tampa Television viewers alike don’t love the “Chatter.” 

Our senior video producer Gavin Olsen and I also have released the full video of each of our recent interviews on our WCNT-tv YouTube channel and then cut the videos into individual segments for release on Facebook, Instagram and our current website. 

One thing we really want you to do is subscribe to our YouTube channel and start watching the full-length videos there.  

As for our other programming ideas, we’re keeping them under wraps for now, but you can expect several more announcements about those new video/online segments in these pages very soon.

25 Years, Eh?

Yes, on February 25, 2019, yours truly will celebrate 25 years as the owner, publisher and editor of the Neighborhood News. Milestone or no milestone, I recognize that the state of the print business is changing and (even though “niche” publications like ours are the ones people will still read today), the fact is that if we don’t change some of the ways we do things, we could go the way of not only the dinosaur, but also of daily newspapers and general interest magazines around the country.

 As I touched on in my last page 3 editorial, a big part of the changes to come this year is that all of our videos, “Neighborhood News” Facebook posts and our news magazine’s website will soon fall under one new umbrella — NeighborhoodNewsOnline.net, the “Online Network Serving New Tampa & Wesley Chapel.”

The new website currently only has a basic landing page, but we hope to roll it out in full to coincide with my 25th anniversary at the helm of Neighborhood News next month.

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