What is Wildwood Matters? It's Open, Transparent and Accurate!
Wildwood Matters began its reporting during my successful attempt to pass Wildwood's new Free Speech Amendment. The amendment allows residents to directly address the City Council and its Mayor during the public comment portion of the city meeting.
During the debate over my Free Speech bill, WWMs reporting was often critical of Mayor Bowlin's original position against the legislation. Bowlin ultimately supported the bill after his legal concerns were addressed.
Given the success of the blog, it continued to address issues before the city council and included more general news about Wildwood. WWM's most viewed story was an expose' about an anonymous Facebook site run by a former councilwoman who posted demeaning pictures and cartoons about her political enemies. Although not necessarily the result of the story, the councilwoman was later censured for behavior beneath the dignity of her office, and later lost her re-election bid.
The site, which began almost exclusively dedicated to the Free Speech Amendment, now was receiving thousands of views per week over stories related to a variety of policy issues and election-related matters.
Wildwood Matters is not a news outlet in a traditional sense, but it is dedicated to open, transparent and accurate coverage of news and views affecting Wildwood. As a former press secretary for a United States Congressman and spokesman for various organizations throughout the years, I am committed to maintaining an appropriate level of journalistic integrity at WWM. Wildwood Matters is committed to providing coverage that provides sources, citations and other supporting facts, rather than rumor or innuendo. Unlike other political blogs, WWM is not anonymous and provides the name of authors providing content.
Civil debate is the oil of the democratic machine. We must never confuse an avoidance of controversy for civility. Democracy is messy, and the point and counterpoint of debate must occur for optimum understanding of issues. But while doing so, we should not engage in character assassination, rumor-mongering or attack the motives of our opponents.
Along with Wildwood Matter's success has come the question of whether a councilman should have such a blog. Interestingly, most every council person has a website or Facebook page where they discuss/debate public policy and even entertain political commentary. Wildwood Matters seems to have drawn a little more criticism than most given its popularity, which in part is due to its journalistic style, topical coverage and levity.
In a world increasingly filled with blogs, Tweets, and Facebook pages it is anachronistic to believe public officials should not engage online. It is a new public square for commentary on matters of public concern. Since its inception, Wildwood Matters has attempted to apply traditional standards of comity and honesty within new and evolving media platforms.
WWM is currently seeking new contributors, stories and opinion pieces from Wildwood residents.
Submissions may be sent to email@example.com
Paid for by Steve Taylor