From April 2011 to June 2012 I was the staff reporter at the Needham Times, a Community Newspaper Company paper that covers the Boston suburb Needham. Needham is a bedroom community of approximately 30,000, about a 20 minute drive from Allston/Brighton. It is an affluent community and regularly hosts events such as arts festivals, performances, celebrations of new Torah scrolls and even a reenactment of a Revolutionary War battle. The community is not without its controversies as well: Needham residents often engage in heated debates about topics such as pesticide use, downtown development, environmental regulations and policies, stressed-out students in the public schools and the sex ed curriculum.
The Needham Times is a weekly paper with a circulation of 11,000. Its content can be found online at the Wicked Local site, a Community Newspaper Company website that covers 158 Massachusetts cities and towns. CNC is owned by Gatehouse Media, a company with media holdings across the United States.
As the paper’s staff reporter, I wrote six to eight stories per week; pitch story ideas; work with my editor to develop each week’s story list; attend Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Planning Board meetings; write a weekly police log; take photographs; upload content to the website; blog; and maintain contact with key community members.