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Category Archives: MacArthur Fellows


Vermonters appreciate updates from their elected representatives

“I want to express my appreciation to Rep. Robin Chestnut-Tangerman for posting legislative updates on Front Porch Forum, and for his obvious commitment to his work on our behalf. It also seems clear that you (Robin) really enjoy what you are doing and your passion shows. I feel well represented by you, and thank you for keeping us all informed.”
• Paul & Margaret, Tinmouth FPF



Interest level in neighborhood news vs. international news?

How would you rank your interest in news, by proximity?  International vs. national vs. local vs. neighborhood?

The results from a Pew study (below) jibe with what we often hear from Front Porch Forum members.

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Click local! When will “local first” arrive on digital shores?

I couldn’t agree more with former Vermonter, Dan Gillmor’s recent piece…

Journalists: Stop complaining about Facebook, and do something about it

Dan focuses on Facebook’s growing dominance as a news distributor…

How should we respond? From my perspective, two primary schools of thought have emerged. One is to embrace that dominance, albeit with some unease, and fully participate in Facebook’s ecosystem. Another is to persuade Facebook to take seriously its growing responsibility to help get quality journalism in front of as many people as possible.

Both of those approaches assume that Facebook is too big, too powerful to resist—that we have no alternative but to capitulate to its dominance. But if that is true, the consequences will be disastrous. We will be living in the ecosystem of a company that has repeatedly demonstrated its untrustworthiness, an enterprise that would become the primary newsstand for journalism and would be free to pick the winners via special deals with media people and tweaks of its opaque algorithms. If this is the future, we are truly screwed.

I say: no. Let’s not give up so easily. Instead, let’s resist—and find a way out of this trap… (click to read the full article)

And… to add to Dan’s call… let’s go beyond journalism.  Let’s click local for retail, for discussion, for classifieds, for reviews, for sports, for entertainment, for networking and more.  Many communities have local efforts underway, and they struggle to capture people’s attention as so many of us habitually scroll through our Facebook feeds, go to Amazon, Yelp, etc.  Why not try local efforts?  While the internet and mobile devices still hold the promise of decentralization of power, we now know that the digital juggernaut is also acting as a giant concentrator of wealth into a small number of pockets.  Thousands of local taxi companies replaced by Uber and Lyft.  Thousands of local bookstores replaced by Amazon.

To quote Dan one more time…

I say: no. Let’s not give up so easily. Instead, let’s resist—and find a way out of this trap.


Digital replacement for “To Kill a Mockingbird” front porch in Roxbury

“Hello all – Where in the world is Linda T.? Am I dreaming that I saw something on FPF that she is doing alterations again? I was a regular customer over the years, but then she took in the shingle. Linda… are you out there? From a short guy whose pants are always too long!”
• Norm, Northfield Front Porch Forum

“Hi all, Well, with the help of many people who contacted me, I found Linda! From the very bottom of my hemmed pants, I want to thank you all for your help. Though the literal front porch, a la To Kill a Mockingbird, is no longer extant, it’s great that we can have this digital replacement. I always pull up a smile when I see people sitting and jawing on the Roxbury Country Store front porch, regardless of what the may be talking about. I hope it’s not me! Living history.”
• Norm, Northfield FPF, next day