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Built in Roseburg

11:01 PM · Aug 15, 2019

So what exactly is Roseburg Tracker? That's a great question and I want to share a bit more about what we are building and why we are building it. What is Tracker? Tracker is a growing family of local news and information communities. We help keep local residents informed and connected with one another. It’s also a great resource for those who used to live in an area to stay in touch, as well as those people thinking about moving to the area. It allows them to experience the community beforehand. What will I find on Tracker? Accurate and vetted local news, information and media that residents will find helpful and enjoyable. Posts and comments are to be helpful, respectful and kind. No personal attacks are allowed. Our goal is to maintain an atmosphere where people feel safe to contribute. Why are we building this? The current news industry and model is in bad shape, with communities across the US losing their newspapers at an alarming rate. There were already thousands of communities that are located in “news deserts” that lacked any substantial local news source. Things are only getting worse and I’m not seeing fundamental models changing quickly enough to stop the coming news crisis. It’s not good for a community to lose its local news sources. Local TV news has been on a similar decline with cuts in just about every market across the country. We also believe the journalism model needs to be overhauled. Insufficient changes to the model have been made over the past 20 years even though the internet has completely changed how information flows. Information, photos and videos are now shared everywhere in real-time. That’s the new reality, and the question I ask myself every day is how to use this new information explosion to help serve local communities. Where did Tracker start? Where’s it going? I started the first Tracker for a rural community in Hawaii to stay up-to-date on a volcanic eruption as it moved towards the town. It provided residents real-time coverage from citizens, scientists as well as various government agencies. It was both a way to stay informed, but also to connect and support one another in the community. It became the primary source of eruption coverage for over 50k people even winning an award from the Big Island Press club for our coverage of the 2018 Eruption. We have an incredible team running Hawaii Tracker and we are working hard to create a long term sustainable model for them. Over the past few years we started having people ask if we could start a Tracker in their community. It became apparent that there are communities all across the US that would greatly benefit from having their own Tracker community. What we are building A new model to produce and distribute local news and information, in community. Besides building the Roseburg Tracker community, my son Moses and I have been building a standalone Tracker platform, completely separate from Facebook. We have begun with a website and we will eventually build a standalone app. Everything you see on the new site has been hand coded by my son Moses. I want to take a moment to recognize his remarkable contribution to this project. He’s 13 years old and is building a platform to help communities across the US stay informed and connected long into the future. Why Roseburg? My family and I came back to Roseburg a year and a half ago to help take care of my father, who is now in the late stages of Alzheimers. We wanted to help keep him at home as long as we could before we eventually transitioned him into a memory care facility. I have a deep love for the City of Roseburg and want it to always be a flourishing community. My great grandparents came here in the early 1900’s and my great grandfather was one of the first coaches at Roseburg High School, where the football field and a street was eventually named after him. My great grandfather, grandfather, father and uncle were all dentists in Roseburg for a hundred year span. Our family has a long history in the area. It’s been hard to see the area struggle to find its vision over the last several decades. Every year a majority of the youth that graduates from local high schools leave and most do not return. That’s a tremendous loss to the community to invest in local youth for 18 years only to have them leave. It’s an enormous talent drain and we need to figure out new industries to stop the exodus. I think one of those industries will be the tech community and tech related jobs, many of them "remote". I want Roseburg to be a big part of the future of Tracker. I want my children to be able to grow up and live here if they would like, and for it to be an easy choice for them. Moses and I have already been talking about helping start programming clubs at some Roseburg area schools to encourage other kids that are interested in learning how to code. So much of it is simply encouraging the kids, and casting a vision that they can accomplish great things even at a young age. I’m convinced that we need to “grow” our own programmers if we want the tech industry in Roseburg to flourish. How can you help? We want the Tracker communities to be a free product so everyone will have access to important local news and information. To be honest, it’s difficult to predict exactly what the long term sustainable model is for local news. We have many ideas, but it just is going to take time to test them out. One source we are already testing is advertising from area businesses. I would also like to build up a team of monthly financial supporters that see the value that we are adding to the community and believe in what we are building. It’s humbling to ask, but I can think of no better model to build this than with the support of our local community. Funds will go towards our personal expenses as well as operational costs of running the platform. To give either a one time donation or a monthly amount, you can do so here: Also, you can now go to our website and create an account and become an early user of the new Tracker site we are building. We greatly value your feedback and we always welcome content contributors! Building a startup is hard. It’s the reason we want and value your support so much. Appreciate you all! 🤙


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