Andrew Birden Credit: Andrew Birden

This experiment with the Crown and Down is an interesting thing to watch. We started the digital newsletter just seven months ago, and it has quickly become a regular part of the news routine for many folks in The County (since you are obviously reading this, thank you for joining us in the experience). Our social media expert tells me various statistics that reinforce the idea that we are catching the attention of County folks. But statistics only tell part of the story.

Along with receiving a number of emails from readers whenever an edition of C and D goes out, I have been hearing feedback elsewhere. I went to the Arootsakoostik Music Festival two weeks ago, and several people, unprompted, walked up to me and mentioned that they are readers of the Crown and Down.

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We are trying to tap into some of those common themes that bind us all during a time when so many forces are trying to split us apart. These themes include a love of The County, our state and our love of our own nation.  I’d also throw in a near universal sense that we must keep an eye out for each other’s backs, that we must find the good news along with the serious news in our communities, and that supporting local business is simply good business.

Each week, our hard-working reporters join with their neighbors in the challenges, tragedies, and triumphs of our County communities.  These reporters, and the folks who work to bring their stories to our attention, deserve our support.

We all respond to that strange attraction of social media and so-called free news. I’m just like everyone else in that I smile at some of the things I see online, feel outrage at others, and allow faceless computers and their faceless masters to manipulate my emotions. But social media and free news is a little like watching a movie. There is a part of us that knows we are seeing a version of reality that is separate from our non-digital lives.

But when you follow the links in the Crown and Down and read the local news that your hard-earned money helped to create through a subscription to your local paper, it’s different. It possesses a “touch of genuine” that is unfortunately absent from a Tweet or a Facebook post. With local stories from local journalists, you have a sense that this portrayal of what is happening is meant to serve your purposes, support your community, and tell a part of your story.

And that’s pretty cool.