After a six month hiatus, the Lyons Recorder is back in business, albeit under new leadership and as a purely digital publication at lyonsrecorder.org.
“Communities suffer and go downhill when they don’t have a newspaper,” the new editor-in-chief, Ken Singer, said. “We kept hearing from people around town about how much they missed the (Lyons) Recorder, so this was something that really needed to be done and revitalized.”
Former owners, Joseph Lekarczyk and Lora Gilson, two former employees who purchased the paper in 2010 to save it from closing, announced in August they were shutting down the 110-year-old community newspaper after failing to find a new buyer following the paper’s biggest advertiser deciding to cease print advertisements.
“That was a blow that we just couldn’t absorb,” Lekarczyk said following the announcement he was closing the paper. “That advertiser pretty much paid for the printing and mail costs, and when we took over the paper nine years ago we promised our spouses that we wouldn’t lose money on it, so we said OK, that’s it … It’s kind of bittersweet that it’s going out of business, but who knows, someone might revive it.”
The new owners, Singer and his wife, Sandy Spellman, have balanced the books by getting rid of the books altogether. All 12 employees volunteer their time, the paper is published online, eliminating the need for printing and delivery, and there is no need for an office as all work is done remotely. There aren’t even advertisements yet and the content is free.
“I’m in the hole for $300 for the domain name and were looking at becoming a 501(c)(3), but right now everyone is a volunteer,” Singer, a retired psychotherapist, said. “It’s really exciting. People have been very responsive and want to contribute or help out in some way so we’re not particularly concerned about getting funding right now.”
Nevertheless, Singer said a few of the local real estate agencies were offering sponsorship and added he may apply for a grant with the Lyons Community Foundation. Arthur Lee Land, a local musician, even offered to hold a benefit concert on behalf of the paper.
With or without additional funding, the new Lyons Recorder will regularly publish new content on Thursdays, with an exception for breaking news coverage, which will be published as needed.
“It’s going to be old fashioned journalism in the new era,” Singer said. “The Redstone Review comes out monthly so news from the Lyons Board of Trustees meetings might be three weeks old, but because we’re digital we can link to anything and help keep our government honest. We also want to do some investigative work — such as finding out why a number of businesses in town are closing.”
Along with Singer, who serves as the editor-in-chief, and Spellman, who serves as the features editor, Mike Porter will act as the senior copy editor, Chrystal DeCoster, will cover arts and culture, Kathleen Spring, will cover senior news and Kate Kerr will curate the events calander.
LaVern Johnson, Amy Reinholds, Cristina Trapani-Scott, and Brianna Hoyt will work as contributing writers.
Anyone interested in submitting content or looking to help out can do so by emailing Singer at Lyonsrecorder.firstname.lastname@example.org.