I’ve come to the realization that I’m obsessed with Geneva, and “finding your obsession” is said to be the first step to becoming a blogger.
Since moving to Geneva in May of 2012, I’ve found myself wanting to learn more about the people, the landscape, the history, and the lesser-known events and aspects of life in this remarkable little lakefront city. What was most striking to me when I first moved to Geneva was encountering such a wide scope of races, ethnicities, and faiths among those who live here. Many people cite Geneva’s ‘diversity’ as one of our strengths, and it’s true: among other similarly-sized cities across upstate NY, Geneva’s population is more representative of a larger metropolitan area than your average predominately white small city. However, like every other city in America, Geneva has its difficulties, its shortcomings, and its challenges. As Geneva City Councilor Mark Gramling likes to say, “it’s one thing to have diversity, it’s another thing to have inclusion.”
During my time as a new Genevan, I’ve always wished to see a more pointed and organized attempt at providing alternative news and viewpoints by and for city residents. Of course, I’m an avid reader and fan of Geneva 13 – A Zine of the Local, which provides unique perspectives, photos, poetry and more that you won’t find in the local rags or online news spots. And although it was a bit ‘before my time,’ the notorious blog No Strings Geneva provided candid and often controversial discussions that rankled the powers-that-be in a way that alternative media should.
I’m grateful to have a local newspaper, the Finger Lakes Times, whose headquarters is right in downtown Geneva, and is staffed by a collection of professional and approachable folks who, I think, have a genuine affection for our city and the Finger Lakes. And Fingerlakes1.com has evolved from a news aggregate site to a multi-media platform for local news and views. WGVA brings old-fashioned local news and interviews on your radio dial, as does our hometown public radio station WEOS. I’d be remiss if I failed to mention Kelly Walker’s Live from Linden podcast, which brings stories and views of the people who make Geneva an exciting, progressive city, especially those in our eclectic and evolving downtown.
But let’s face it…how many of these news outlets are interested in authentic exploration of the machinations within the social, political, and professional circles in our city? How many of these news outlets would be willing to ask the more uncomfortable questions about injustice, corruption or hypocrisy in Geneva as a matter of routine? Sure, there’s the occasional “in-depth” report here and there, but time and again, I’ve been disappointed by the local media when troubling or questionable issues arise within local government, or schools, or non-profits, or businesses, and the media simply accepts the statements of the representatives of those institutions at face value, while seeming fairly eager to close the book on those particular stories and move on to the next one.
That’s not to say that I don’t plan to have positive or enlightening posts which celebrate the reasons that so many of us are Geneva Believers. If there weren’t reasons to believe, I wouldn’t be living here, and I can be as enthusiastic a cheerleader for G-Town as most anybody. If you aren’t acquainted with me, check out my little bio connected to this blog. I’ve put quite a bit of my time, energy, love and even a few of my hard-earned dollars into making Geneva a better place, and this blog is just an extension of that love. However, I plan to dig deep for those uplifting and enjoyable stories of Geneva and its people to hopefully give readers some reasons to love Geneva that they may not have realized were there.
But again, I don’t think the people of Geneva have a consistent public forum devoted to unflinching examination of the threads in the fabric of our city that may be frayed or broken and in need of repair. Hopefully, Geneva Believer will fill that needed role.
I’ve got ideas for the first few posts to get the blog rolling, but I don’t plan to do this alone. I hope to have plenty of guest writers from the community to provide a broader range of discussion. Please contact me via the Contact page or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/GenevaBeliever) if you would like to be a guest writer, or if you have a story idea.
Oh, and the other two steps to becoming a blogger are “write about your obsession consistently” and “don’t be a jerk.” Those two sound a little bit harder than the first, but I’m going to give it a go.
Thanks for reading, stay tuned, and BELIEVE!