Community journalism can mean many things.
It means providing community news, yes, but as El Cerrito Patch celebrates its first birthday today, I am deeply gratified to report that it has come to mean a lot more than that in the past year.
What El Cerrito Patch does is not just for the community. It is of the community and by the community.
For starters, nearly all of the content and photos comes from members of our community. Some are veteran journalists, who have kindly devoted their considerable skills and knowledge for modest pay to producing what has been an extraordinary collective panaroma of our world — the celebrations, the losses, the politics, the histories and the myriad other varieties of life as it plays across our local stage.
Equally impressive have been the articles and photos from contribubors without a traditional journalism background. Some are many years retired, some are yet in high school or even middle school, and many are somewhere in between.
Also playing a prominent role, of course, are the community bloggers who post under the relatively new "Local Voices" banner on the homepage.
And just as important have been the many readers who have sent us news tips and suggestions for ways to improve what we do. Some of our biggest stories have come from reader tips, and numerous reader suggestions have enhanced how we do our jobs and present information.
And then there are the reader comments, which create one of the most interesting and often informative forums on the site. And when you also add in the events listings and announcements, not to mention the letters to the editor and the Q&A section, you can see the rich, active, multi-level public engagement that the community has created on the web site called El Cerrito Patch.
My role is called "editor," which means I do a lot of traditional editing tasks on articles, but in the bigger picture, in this new expanded and interactive world of online journalism, my role is more like a combination of custodian, traffic cop and attendant at the lost and found desk, just to name a few.
So when I ask you to join me in celebrating El Cerrito Patch's first birthday today, I am also asking you to wish yourselves Happy Birthday!