Each Monday, we will be profiling newsrooms big and small from across GateHouse in our Newsroom Profile feature. If you'd like to have your newsroom profiled here, just fill out the Newsroom Profile Questionnaire.
|Newspaper name and location:||
Arlington Advocate; Lexington, Mass.
Maria Chutchian, Reporter
Ben Aaronson, Lexington Editor
Just over 6,000
|Give us a short history of your newspaper:||
The Arlington Advocate has been the paper of record since 1872. The paper was started by John Parker, but most remember his brother, Charles, as the first publisher. At that time, Charles used the paper to rail against his anti-liquor stance, covering local temperance meetings that he often helped organize. After Charles passed away, his daughter Grace took over the role as editor. The Parkers also founded the Lexington Minuteman, but before the Parker family gave over ownership of the Advocate in 1938 to Harold B. Wood, the Minuteman was sold off.
|Tell us something unique about your community:||
Arlington, Mass., is home to about 45,000 people. It’s a family town, and the schools here are an important fixture. Arlington is truly an example of an urban suburb. With Cambridge and Somerville to the east, the town provides an easy commute into the city for workers and students alike, but much of the crime that comes with city life is left at the borders. People here believe their cops are honest, their DPW workers are hard-working and their fireman are true heroes. They have less love for their politicians.
|Do you have any quirky or fun newsroom traditions?||
It's possible that you could hear some 80s music if you stopped by the Lexington office, maybe a little Michael Jackson, and maybe some singing of our own. We also appreciate Family Feud fans and anyone who can quote lines from "A Few Good Men." Most recently, we've discovered a true oracle in a local's audition tape for "The Apprentice." It contains the answers to just about any question that comes up in the newsroom.
|What has your newsroom accomplished in the past year that you are most proud of? What was your biggest story of the year?||
The Arlington Advocate was nominated for three NENPA (New England Newspaper and Press Association) awards, and we managed to pull down a first-place win for a series we did on breast cancer. Although the pieces were written in late 2009, we received the award just this month. The series was a truly collaborative brainchild between my former reporter, Andy Metzger, who moved on to a reporting position for our sister paper, the Somerville Journal, and myself (Editor Nicole Laskowski). It's definitely one of the bright spots of my tenure at the Advocate.
|What new initiatives does your newspaper have planned this year?||
Right now, our eyes are fixed on the local spring election. We’re hoping to provide readers with an election guide, as we’ve done in the past, but, with the help of one of our photographers, we’re looking at adding a big online component.