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May 25, 2010

Some news about me--and Walnut Creek

You will soon be able to get even more news about Walnut Creek.

I have a new job, editing a new website, WalnutCreekPatch (WalnutCreek.Patch.com), devoted exclusively to news about this wonderful, intriguing, sometimes infuriating town that I, and many of you, call home.

This new job offers exciting possibilities for me. But, ultimately for you, fellow Walnut Creek’ans.

For the past 20 months, I’ve been covering Walnut Creek on this blog, Crazy in Suburbia. As AKA Soccer Mom, I’ve been doing this on a pro bono, nights-and-weekend basis.  I’ve had the time of my life doing this blog, more fun than I can possibly imagine.

I’ve also learned a hell of a lot—mostly from you readers. I started this blog for my own self-indulgence, but I quickly realized that I could, maybe, provide a service to people who live and work in Walnut Creek. I didn’t know where I was taking this blog. I can say that I came to appreciate how much I live in a community of smart, talented, diverse and engaged people who, like me, were eager for ways to find out what’s really going on here, and to connect with other people in town. And to grumble sometimes, debate, learn and celebrate.

Now, covering Walnut Creek will be my job.  I’ll be able to devote myself full time to reporting on what’s going on here—the good, the controversial, the surprising, the extraordinary. I’ll also be working with reporters, photographers, videographers and people from the community to help this site tell stories--in words, pictures and video--,about Walnut Creek.

Who is forward-thinking enough—or Crazy enough—to allow me to do this? 

Patch is an effort by the new and improved Aol (formerly AOL) to provide communities with local news. There are already Patch sites on the East Coast, in Southern California and right here in Danville, San Ramon, and Pleasanton. 

I can’t tell you how excited I am. One reason is that Walnut Creek is my hometown. 

This is a photo of me, a few days old in Kaiser hospital, right here in Walnut Creek. The date shows that I had been in the hospital for several days. Yes, I was born back in the Old Times—when babies and their mothers were not sent home after 24 hours.  This was also back in the day when women like my mother were rendered unconscious to give birth, and then allowed to stay in the hospital for several days to recuperate from the meds.

Not to extend the birth metaphor too much, but I liken the process of launching this new website, WalnutCreekPatch, to giving birth to my son 12 years ago. By the way, he’s a student in Walnut Creek public schools.

There’s the long, lovely gestation of nurturing Crazy in Suburbia. Now, the contractions are starting, getting things ready for the launch of WalnutCreekPatch. I’m going without an epidural, and I'll hit the ground running on launch day. 

When is launch day?  Soon. If all goes well, by the end of this week. One more birth metaphor: We’re getting near the transition.

Ouch!

A couple more things you should know.

WalnutCreekPatch.com will ultimately be your site. One of the most rewarding things about Crazy in Suburbia has been stepping back from my own opinions and agenda and letting you suggest coverage, contribute, instruct, share, comment. As I said, I’ve learned a lot from all of you. I’m not perfect. I don’t know everything.  I’m always learning. I always want to do better. 

That’s a philosophy—which I picked up from one of my favorite yoga teachers—that I’ll be taking to WalnutCreekPatch.

At WalnutCreekPatch, you’ll be able to upload photos and videos of your own, about things that matter to you. You’ll be able to contribute restaurant reviews and comment on stories. And you’ll always be able to contact me with ideas and tips.

And Crazy in Suburbia? The blog will stay where it is for the time being. But, I’ll be posting Walnut Creek news items on Walnut CreekPatch, and I’ll be posting Walnut Creek-related Soccer Mom/Crazy in Suburbia comments on the new site.

You can continue to reach me at crazyinsuburbia@gmail.com, but you can also reach me at Martha@patch.com. That’s right, I’m Martha.

You can also follow WalnutCreekPatch on Facebook and on Twitter.

And, here’s a shout out to some people who helped me out in the beginning and kept coming back to be part of this crazy community

The Mayor of Claycord,  Mister Writer, Bill Gram-Reefer, the Lemony Lady, Radar, EastBayDaze, JoJo Potato, Thud, Obiwan, Beau Hunk, LeftCoast, DumbAsBricks, Lorrielovesparties, Masterlock, Jojo Potato, Huston Meadows, W.C. Varones, Edi Birsan, Up3rd, Jason Wheeler, Elizabeth, Daffodil Hugger, David, CreekyDiva, and 20thcentury mom.  And all you Anonymouses. 

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good luck Martha. Looking forward to the new blog.

Jonesified said...

Congrats. But is it WalnutCreek.Patch.Com -or- WalnutCreekPatch.com?

You have both listed.

Good luck!

Beau Hunk said...

Best wishes!

Will we still be able to protect ourselves and post anonymously on the Patch?

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Jonsified, thanks for pointing that out.
I fixed it. It's WalnutCreekPatch, but to get to it, the URL is WalnutCreek.Patch.com

Beau Hunk,
Yes, you should be able to sign up as Anonymous or as Beau Hunk. I'm just double checking the Anonymous part.

Masterlock said...

When are we moving?! And Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

I would be very careful about this. This website has a lot of value and if you abandon it, that value is lost, probably forever. Did you factor that in? Check out this article on Patch:

http://blog.fourcher.net/2010/05/patchcom-revenue-model-makes-no-sense.html

I hope you got a multi-year deal based on what I read. Also, if the amount they're paying matches what is in the article, you'd probably be better off introducing ads into this site directly.

Anonymous said...

SELLOUT! Why would you go to a big corp when you got a good thing going here?

Elizabeth said...

Congrats!! Really excited for you, and I truly look forward to your new gig!! More info, and video, who wouldn't want that :)

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Dear readers, I'm not abandoning Crazy in Suburbia. And, thanks to those who think this blog has value.

It has value to me, maybe not financially....

Maybe I am a sell-out. But 1) I have to take care of my family, and Aol is the one company that is paying journalists these days. I have thought of, you know, getting the much better corporate PR job, and still trying to do the blog on the side.

This way I get to do what I love, every day, and get paid for it.

2) Also, the company is giving me the resources to do a better job covering Walnut Creek.

CreekyDiva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CreekyDiva said...

Phew! Glad to hear that you will not be abandoning CIS. Even though we may not all agree on the issues you present for comments, I feel safe in saying that we do agree that you are providing a vital local service and forum for all of us.

Good luck in your new venture and we shall continue to be SM junkies!

Amy said...

Looking forward to the new site Martha! I'm sure it will be as rewarding as what wonderful work you've done here.

Thud said...

It's been a pleasure and one that I hope will continue as you move forward...a deserved step for you in my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

I am very happy for you, and very excited about what's coming. I feel like it will only be more of what we all log on for. I love the local news and discussions.

Congrats!

Sharon

Anonymous said...

I see EastBayDaze is doing the same thing

LeftCoast said...

Good Luck with the new site SM, you will always be Victoria Beckham to me!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations soccer, um, Martha! I think it's great and wish you all the best. I have really enjoyed CIS. Little bits of news every day that one does not get in the CCTimes.Thanks, and I will definitely tune in to the new site.

Jojo Potato said...

Good to you Martha. I was maybe in that same cot but just a few years before you. I'll be checking in for sure and if you'll let me I'll put in a word now and then too. Love you baby.

Castle Hill Bill said...

SM- So you're out to addict me to another local blog? I'm game. Good luck with your new endeavor but don't forget your CIS fans.
Martha?

Daffodil Hugger said...

Hi Soccer Martha,
Best of fortune in your new endeavor!
I checked out one of the other Patch sites and see that it gives you new creative opportunities.

Anna, The Lemon Lady said...

Excellent! Best of success in your new endeavors. Does that mean we'll find you out and about the town more often? Hope to see you someday at the Farmers' Market - or how about a few Lemon Trees in Walnut Creek, or even a few Walnut Trees for some real hometown flavor.

Anonymous said...

Martha
Congrats on the new job and look forward to more coverage of Walnut Creek. Glad Crazy in Suburbia will continue too. You have provided a great service and I know you will continue to do so. See ya around
Pete Johnson

lorrwill said...

Patch?

MisterWriter said...

AOL? Really? Those people who used to flood the market with disks for their service but now who have a low subscriber base and struggling for a living?

I wish you well, but beware that you run the risk of taking from your blog. In my opinion, as a publisher this attempt to garner an audience on the basis of the AOL name will not work,but will serve to dilute the efforts of the likes of you, me and Claycord. AOL is dead. I expect it will remain so regardless of their plans. As our favorite CCT has shown, the online news business is a tricky business. There are so many online news channels like My Town, another failed attempt. You see the real problem is not one of these visionaries actually understands the marketplace.

And for the record, MisterWriter will not go patch.

Sorry for the sour post - I am surprised that you would have considered this viable, certainly without asking the opinions of Claycord, or others in the know.

And yes...I am disappointed.

Julia @ The Frugal Find said...

Congrats! Loved reading your news, I am very excited for you.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Martha. You've provided an informative and entertaining resource for us these many years. I'm glad you will be paid now for your good work!

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Dear Readers,
Thank you so much for all your good wishes

Am I doing the right thing? I don't know. I don't have a crystal ball. And, there are things I can't control. I'm hoping this will be a good opportunity for me, and for Walnut Creek, and for readers.

Anonymous said...

Martha, Martha, Martha (I guess close enough to Marcia, Marcia, Marcia) ...... going corporate. I'm looking forward to be reading you on the patch, but I sure hope you can keep your journalistic freedom once you have to be concerned about how many hits your site gets and what the advertisers want?

Huston Meadows said...

Hi Martha,

It is disappointing but not surprising that Mister Writer does not approve of your decision. I have checked out his blog and found him to be extremely judgmental, so it's not advisable to base your decisions upon his critique.

I don't blame you in any way for taking the opportunity to get a salary for your work. Most people are not independently wealthy. I have worked for "the man" for many years and still been able to express my individuality.

What does bother me is the set of individuals in Walnut Creek that have their own permanent incomes or inherited wealth but do not honor people's need to have a decent job. What is with them? Are they retired or on pensions and nobody elso counts? I look forward to their input.

For now, let me say congratulations on your new assignment and go "Break a Leg"

MisterWriter said...

Thanks Huston. The word is realistic not judgmental, but thanks for your opinion on that one. Here's the thing - if I am wrong I will be the first on this blog to say so publicly. But you would expect no less of me if I disagree. This is nothing against SoccerMom - she knows that. There is an old saying that goes something like...if it slithers like a snake, and looks like a snake then likely it is one.

MisterWriter said...

One more thing I meant to say before hitting send - SoccerMom you have enough of a following to sell ads on your site! That would be a better way to go... sorry to take two posts to say that.

Huston Meadows said...

Hi Mister Writer,

Maybe your way is indeed the best. I haver no objection tothe advertisements on blog sites!

I would like to see how Soccer Mom does with her approach.

Best wishes to both of you.

Huston

The founders of our republic beleived in bringing in many opinions to our discussion about development of government and democracy. Let's keep the process going. I hope most of us will be civil but that is not a requirement.

MisterWriter said...

Huston,
I have no issue with you. Civil - I hope I am so being. But don;t back down on your belief on my account or presence :)

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Mister Writer, Huston Meadows,
You both raise very good points. Am I selling out? Am I going to lose my independence. Mister Writer, by the way, thanks for suggesting I could have sold ads on this site. Somehow, that is something I never really believed.

Yes, my decision is part economic. Personally, that is. Also, the whole media landscape is shifting.

I felt like I had to make a move. I'll see where it takes me. It seems like life now, and the world, including for journalists, is about risks.

I'm taking one.

I do have this, in some ways, very strange, maybe commendable, commitment and desire to write Walnut Creek. There are people like Huston Meadows out there whom I suppose care about their community, love it, have grievances... And there hasn't been a forum to do that?

I can do that here.

And, I can still do it here. I can do it on Walnut Creek Patch.

Well, I have to go. I have to get things ready to launch this damned site! For better or not.