You may have come to this site via a friend's recommendation, not knowing who I am, what am I doing, or anything else. So let me tell you.
Who am I? My name is Dave Whitaker. I am a former resident of Cochran who lives about a half a mile away from the county line in Twiggs County. I attended Bleckley County schools for the first seven grades, plus kindergarten. I'm a longtime sports fan, longtime supporter of Bleckley athletics. I've also been writing for several years, taken journalism classes in college and have worked at several newspapers.
Why a website? The old saying is "If you want something done, you've got to do it yourself." I believe that the Cochran-Bleckley County area has a lot of good things going on. Great sports teams (high school, middle school, recreation league) great people, and great events. I think there needs to be a place where those things can be covered. Where people can go pull up information like a team schedule in a hurry. Or read about the accomplishments of people, without having to sift through some of the bad news that seems to dominate the headlines.
Why all the pictures? Because people are visual. They like to have something they can see to go along with the words. That's why if I'm at an event, unless it's forbidden to do so, I'm going to be taking pictures.
But aren't there some pictures that don't belong on the Internet? Yes. And not every photo I take is intended for the website. When I'm covering a sporting event, or other function, my main goal is to get photographs of that function. But I take other pictures too. Memory pictures for those who ask me to. Or sometimes extra action pictures for a sports team's slide show. In some cases, I've taken pictures that were specifically designed to be used in a slide show. I am capable of discerning the difference of what is appropriate for the public, and what is meant to be private. Never the twain shall cross.
Why are some of the pictures so small? The program used to run the website has specific restrictions on size of pictures. Also, if a picture is too tall or wide, it can cause an ugly line you see called a page break. Sometimes though I forget to reduce a picture, and a page break happens. If you see one, don't hesitate to e-mail me and tell me about it.
Do you sell pictures that are on the site? Absolutely. I can do pretty much any size, and do it well, and cheaper than other photographers. E-mail me for more information. Also: please note that I am unable to keep full-sized copies of most pictures I take unless I know I will need them for something, so please let me know right away if you see something you like. You should always e-mail me because in most cases, I won't be advertising pictures being for sale.
Why don't you advertise pictures for sale? Because the main purpose of BleckleyProgress.com is to cover the community. I do not wish to detract from that in any fashion. That is why you do not see articles (except for prom walk-through which is a photo section only) advertising pictures for sale. You can find that info on the "Our Services" page.
The same holds true for events I video. If you see me at a concert or play, and I'm using a video camera, the DVD is for sale. However, the website is not about me, it is about covering the community. So I will not advertise. You can see or contact me about DVD's. ***Note DVD prices and sales are intended for local delivery.***
What do you cover? Anything community related. Sports is a big part of the community. But I'll cover anything involving people. Church news, civic organization news, especially any good news. In terms of sports, I believe that all teams are important. I don't care if it's middle school or high school, boys sports, or girls sports. I believe everyone deserves to be covered. Does that mean sometimes I'll have to make decisions over specific games? Yes. I have before and will have to again.
What if I see you at a game or event, but don't see an article the next day? It's possible I'm waiting on stats for that event. Usually though I will have a picture up saying that a full article is coming soon.
More than likely, I've accidentally hidden the article. With the software used to run the site, one of the choices for an article is "hidden." The only time I'd ever use that would be for one that can't run at the moment. Sometimes though, I will accidentally select "hidden" when I don't intend to. If you think there's an article missing, please let me know.
Sometimes two things happen at the same time, and I can't be at both. Sometimes I make decisions on events based on what I think is more newsworthy, or in rare cases, I may have a personal interest in the story. But if I can't be at the other event, I'll try to make sure someone else can, or at least get a result up from the thing I missed.
If you notice, I have categories of news on the website. High School Sports, Middle School sports, community news, those are pretty much self-explanatory. Community sports is any sporting event that involves people from Bleckley County, but does not fit into the other categories.
One category that allows you to get involved is "saying thank you." That is an opportunity for you to say thank you. It can be to thank the community for kindness during the illness or loss of a loved one. It can be a thank you to a business who let your group do a fundraiser. Any way you look at it, it's a way for you to express appreciation for kindness shown.
Why don't you have anything about (insert sport) on the site? Good question. And it depends. If you're talking about Middle Georgia State University, my news interest there is strictly local. Local people participating in things is of interest. As to other high school or middle school sports, it's simple as this.
I will work with any coach who will work with me. I'll go take pictures, put up results, whatever I can do to help. But if I feel I'm not wanted somewhere, I'm going to go where I feel I can be useful. I also will not beg or cajole anyone who doesn't wish to be helpful.
Why do you not take pictures at graduation? Because the crowd and number of students involved would prevent me from covering it fairly.
Who is "BleckleyProgress.com contributor"? That's anyone who sent in a story, press release or any news used on the site. The name is generic to protect the privacy of the person contributing, and to also differentiate between that and any stories I or my dad do. I can always use contributed news and/or pictures, e-mail BleckleyProgress@aol.com to send something in.
How often do you update the site? As much as needed. If there's news that needs to go up, it will as soon as I can do it. I strive to be first, fast, and accurate. If it seems like the site goes without updates for more than one day, you can assume one of two things are happening. Either I've had no content for the site, or there is a technical issue which is preventing me from making updates.
Why don't I see you at (insert event) on Sunday. Because as a general rule, Sunday is my rest day. While I will always post submitted items, I do not cover events except in rare circumstances.
What if I see an error on the website? By all means e-mail or call me. Please. I strive for accuracy in reporting. If I have an error of fact (IE: a time or date location incorrect) or a spelling/grammatical error, please feel free to let me know.
I do ask though that you do it to inform, not to accuse. Please don't email or call me wanting to know why I left (insert person) out. This has always been a primarily one-person operation in terms of content. Now, it's a completely solo act. Mistakes are going to happen.
I will gladly fix those mistakes. But it's hurtful for someone to ask why I left so-and-so out when the goal of this site is to cover as many people in the community as possible. If there is a mistake, simply tell me what it was, and I'll fix it.
Not everyone has a computer. How do I let (my mom, uncle, etc.) who doesn't know how to work a computer see an article here? Very fair question. One option would be to print a copy. Each article has a printable version.
You may want something here in a newspaper in order to make sure more people see it. I understand that. However, I must ask that you do not directly copy and send to another media outlet any article or photo published here without attribution for the information. This is to protect my work and my copyright.
About Facebook: I understand people like to share good action shots on Facebook. I must ask that if you do, attribute Bleckley Progress for the photo. By the way, Bleckley Progress does not have a Facebook page and that the copyright policy applies to Facebook.
There is a way to share links on Facebook. Simply click on an article, and choose "Printable version." Copy that link into Facebook and voila, you've shared an article.
Please do this and do not post any information from Bleckley Progress as a status update on Facebook without crediting the website. As stated in the copyright, all articles and photos appearing here is the property of the Bleckley Progress and its contributors.
Also, I am still trying to get more advertising for the website. The way a website is marketable is by getting hits (people viewing the pages.) Posting an article on Facebook from Bleckley Progress without attribution takes away possible page views. Please understand I don't wish to be ugly, but I need to protect the content here.
"You need a Facebook page." I'm sorry, but that will not happen. As a one-man show, it takes time to cover events, update the site, as well as share some articles with the "News Where You Live" bleckley/dodge/pulaski website of 13WMAZ.com I don't have the time to manage a Facebook page.
What about the classified ads? The idea behind classified ads is two-fold. It provides a service to the community. But more importantly, having a classified section increases website traffic. That increased traffic will (hopefully) get businesses to advertise with BleckleyProgress.com Please note that classified ads are free for individuals, but are $5 per week for businesses. Free classifieds for individuals are for non-commercial sales of goods ONLY.
A new feature is "Special Announcements." Not unlike the marquee located across from WOW Cargo Trailers, it will be a pay per use section that allows readers to run anything from wedding announcements, congratulatory ads, items you might want to make public, but don't fall under the category of news.
Prices are as follows. A special announcement pinned to the front page is $30 (same price as a business ad.) It will remain there a minimum of three, a maximum of seven days.
Special announcements not pinned to the front page are $15. No announcements will be deleted. Please call or email with any further questions.
Speaking of ads. If you have a business, you can advertise on BleckleyProgress.com for $30 a month. Contact me for information including a look at our web traffic. You'll be impressed.
Another service offered is transferring video to DVD. I now have a VCR/DVD recorder. For those of you who do not know, it is a device that not only can record video to DVD, it also can transfer VHS audio tapes to DVD. I also can transfer camcorder video to DVD.
How much does it cost? Here are prices. Transfer VHS to DVD (with you providing the DVD rewritable) $5. If I have to provide it, $10. Transferring camcorder video $10. Please note: all prices are per cassette.
What is the community calendar? It's a feature designed to help advertise what is happening in the community. I wanted it to ensure people can find out what's happening in Cochran even if an event has been pushed off the front page. I will update it as fast as possible.
How do I contact you? If you see me at a ballgame or event, come say hello. I'm the guy with the long hair, baseball cap, and most likely holding a big camera. I don't bite. You can call (478)230-6556. Or you can e-mail BleckleyProgress@aol.com Contact information is on the main page.
You can also follow Bleckley Progress on Twitter. The Twitter feed is used to pass along scores and site updates. You can ask questions and I will answer them. Sign up at twitter.com
The goal of BleckleyProgress.com is to serve the community. So please let me know of any way I can do that. Thanks for reading.
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