YourArlington logo

UPDATED March 31: YourArlington began in 2006 as an experiment in community journalism dedicated to reporting news about Arlington, Mass., and the Arlington-related views of its residents. That experiment continues, but it is not unique -- it is part of a nationwide movement once called "citizen journalism."

The phrase gained currency through We the Media, a 2004 book by Arizona State University professor Dan Gillmor. This kind of journalism encourages members of a community to write about that community; the writing may be reporting, or it may be opinion.  


YourArlington Site policies

Bob Sprague, an Arlington resident since 1989, is the founder and was the editor until July 1, 2023, when Judith Pfeffer took over. Read the announcement here >>

Sprague is a member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.

The site is a member of LION Publishers, which stands for Local Independent Online News Publishers, and also a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News.

On Dec. 8, 2021, the site announced a significant change: It had become a nonprofit organization, recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) as eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. INN logo

Accordingly, YourArlington no longer seeks advertising but instead encourages public support through individual donations, underwriting and grants. YourArlington controls what it publishes and remains independent of those providing donations.

Donate here >>

LION Publishers

A board now guides the site, but it exercises no editorial control.

Its voting members are Bob Sprague, president and chair; Annie LaCourt, treasurer; Kim Haase, secretary; Susan Webber, in charge of fund-raising. Other voting members are Jim Concannon, Susan Stamps, Larry Slotnick and Shane Curcuru. 

Several people provide advice to the board. They are Marjorie Howard, editor Judith Pfeffer, David Whitford, Steve Morgan, Clarissa Rowe, Barbara Thornton, Rose Udics, Lisa Pedulla, Eric Segal, Jim Gomes, Susan Ryan-Vollmar, Edward Blundell, Christopher Wilbur, Adam MacNeill, Ron Rosenbaum, Eric Stange and Frederick Kalil, the website's restaurant reviewer.

Other reporters are Crystal Lin and Jessie Castellano.

Fund-raising subcommittee: Webber is the chair of the group. Members are Blundell, Concannon, LaCourt, MacNeill, Pedulla, Rowe, Slotnick and Stamps.

Mission

"YourArlington is a local news organization that publishes facts and opinions about Arlington, Mass. We aspire to the highest journalistic standards of accuracy, impartiality and fairness. Our aim is to bolster an engaged citizenry and so strengthen our community and democracy."

An interview with Sprague conducted by James Milan of ACMi was published Jan. 20, 2021:

The website encourages factual reporting, honest opinion and overall fair play. 

YourArlington believes that the public has a right to know the sources of information. Anonymous sources may be used by writers in rare cases, but when readers post to this site, the public should know their full names. 

Reach the editor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Financial information

Find information about YourArlington's Form 990 for tax year 2021 by searching here >> Enter the organization name and state; the legally available data comes up.

When YourArlington files taxes for tax year 2022, its accountant again expects to use Form 990-N.

Donors: YourArlington plans to list all donors. In the meantime, the site reports that Susan Gilbert of Arlington donated $10,000 to the site in 2022. She is a part-time freelance writer for the site.

Credits

Writers, some serving since 2014, most of whom have received pay for their services:

Judith Pfeffer reports about public schools and health issues and is the website's editor.

Brynn O'Connor is assistant to the editor, splitting her time between editing and reporting.

Jessie Castellano and Crystal Lin, all college students in Boston, are freelance general-assignment reporters.

Frederick Kalil writes restaurant reviews.

Susan Gilbert reported about the Select Board, Town Meeting, the Conservation Commission and the arts, and provided occasional features, from 2016 until March 2024.

Kim Haase volunteers for occasional editing.

Christopher Wilbur volunteers as reporter/writer producing the weekly police-blotter column.

Marjorie Howard, former reporter for the Boston Herald and Sprague's wife, provides occasional features and is now paid. 

Previous paid reporters were Renee Abbott, Catherine Brewster, Melanie Gilbert, Tony Moschetto and Emily Piper-Vallillo (Abbott and Gilbert both primarily covered the housing authority), as well as these student reporters: Cassidy McNeeley, now at the Dorchester Reporter; Alex Swenson; Jake Bentzinger; Matty Wasserman, Northeastern University student; Katie Mogg, Northeastern student graduating in May who is to be the 2024-2025 Well Fellow at The New York Times; Julia Preszler, Northeastern student; Eileen O'Grady, Northeastern graduate student who now works at the Concord, N.H., Monitor; Emerson College graduate student Jingfei Cui; and Jo Anne Preston of Arlington, who provided features. 

Some former YourArlington reporters have gone on to work at The Boston Globe and the Lowell Sun. They include:

Melanie Gilbert, previously mentioned above.

Rebecca Braun, freelance general-assignment reporter.

Aileen Maroney, a freelance feature writer.

Susie Goldman, a freelance feature writer.

Jane Dornbusch, a restaurant reviewer.  

Earlier in YourArlington's history, Linda and Uri Guttman, as well as Lori Uhland, were paid restaurant reviewers.

Scott Samenfeld helped with site technology from 2006 to December 2022; Karen Gruber helped with the database. Both are Arlington residents and were paid for some work.

Arlington residents who helped this site as volunteers in the past are:

Barbara Goodman, a former Arlington School Committee member, and various interns from Arlington High School.

From 2007 to 2012, various advanced students from the classes of Kim Eudenbach, a journalism teacher at Arlington High School, contributed to the site.

Benn Craig, an Arlington photographer, has contributed photographs to the site in the past.

Audrey L. Jenkins was a contributing reporter in April and May 2012.

Colin Campbell submitted weekly police reports from November 2008 until September 2010.

Sprague's resume >>

Some site history

The site launched Dec. 10, 2006, as a dot-com on open-source Joomla! 

In August 2007, Google ads were added. The ability for users to post comments was added in September 2007. A new site template was activated in October 2007.

In 2008, the OpenX online-advertising system was installed. In February 2013, the site began using Joomla's FlexBanner and Broadstreet Ads after OpenX was hacked nationwide.

On June 9, 2008, the site was incorporated by its then-publisher in Massachusetts.

In May 2009, Your View, an opinion site, was added. Since 2012, the site used has EasyBlog, which continues to be upgraded. YourArlington itself is not a blog, but the site includes a blog --Your View -- where opinion is published.

Since 2009, YourArlington has been a news partner with hyperlocal sites Cambridge Day, which is actively maintained, and InsideMedford (until 2018; the site is no longer maintained).

On Jan. 14, 2010, Boston.com added Arlington to its Your Town links and began linking to YourArlington stories. In 2015, Boston.com abandoned its hyperlocal effort, but YourArlington's connection to The Boston Globe continues.

On Sept. 8, 2012, the site upgraded to Joomla! platform 2.5, and made public a new site design. 

YourArlington moved to a new host, SiteGround, in September 2013. A revamped site template, created with Artisteer, was updated Feb. 3, 2013. A mobile template was activated March 7, 2013.

A new mobile-ready, responsive-design template was activated July 7, 2014, in concert with the Joomla platform.

In June 2016, YourArlington signed a contract to have Broadstreet Ads deliver advertising content. The New Jersey company offers more than 100 options to advertising, including an automated Facebook feed. That contract ended Sept. 1, 2021.

Since 2016, the site has used AcyMailing to deliver its weekly newsletter.

In 2018, Steve Poltorzycki, an Arlington resident who writes about what he sells -- local real estate -- began his column, Real Estate Corner.

In April 2019, a new mobile-friendly template with a revamped site logo and design friom Mitzi Gilbert of MSG Design was added. After that, the site began taking donations.

On Dec. 8, 2021, the site announced that it had become a nonprofit organization and had begun making design changes, which are continuing in 2023.

In December 2022, the site raised nearly $5,000 in a year-end fund-raising campaign.

As of March 14, 2024, the site's newsletter, published every Wednesday, had 1,171 active subscribers, up from 700 one year before. Boosting this increase was a mailing Feb. 2 to more than 7,000 residents. To become a subscriber, at no cost, sign up using the form above "Wednesday Newsletter."

Those who would like to help with the site should inquire. If others volunteer, the photos above could become smaller, and other photos may be added, making the site a better representation of "us."


        This material was published in December 2006 and updated March 31, 2024.