Last month, I celebrated, if that's the right word, 10 years as this site's Webmaster and 10 and a half years as its chief reporter and photographer.
I have no intention of stopping now and hope for another decade at least of involvement.
But we are a senior community, and 10 years ago also happens to have been when I retired from my day job in newspaper journalism. I am now 72 years old, and few people speed up between 72 and 82. Time marches on, and for an institution as important as the Web site has become to this community to operate without a succession plan is foolhardy.
For those reasons, I posted a story Aug. 20 under the headline, “Want to be a reporter, a Webmaster?”
Two residents have volunteered, and each is both younger and more technologically qualified than I.
They are, in alphabetical order, Mark Rosen and Joe Veldon, both of Pennington Court.
Rosen, 69, is a working physicist with a Ph.D. in applied physics from Harvard University. He is the founder of and a principal in Lindenwold-based General Applied Physics Solutions. He has been a Research Fellow in Earth and Planetary Physics as well as Physics at Harvard and worked for Shell Development Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. More important for the matter at hand, he has more than a decade of Web site experience designing and maintaining sites for his R&D business, his sons' high school athletics booster club --- 100s of pages of team info and events spanning seven years -- and the physics courses he has taught. And he's one of Newton's Landing's few newly-weds, having tied the knot with Eileen Levin Rosen on Oct. 11.
"Veldon, 68, is an information technology veteran, who for 30 years was a senior network engineer with Verizon Communications in Cherry Hill, NJ and for 10 years was a Senior Solutions Engineer at SunGard Availability Services in Wayne, Pa. Before moving to Newton's Landing four years ago, he was a resident of Moorestown for 20 years and a member of the Moorestown Telecommunications and Technology Committee. Oh, and for seven years he was with the U.S. Submarine Service.
By a coincidence I find little eerie, Mark and Joe live in houses on either side of one formerly occupied by the co-founder of the Web site, Larry Margulis, who moved out of the community several years ago.
Joe and Mark are not going to be my assistants. We plan to operate as a troika, divvying up the work according to our likes and the needs of the site. We have had a few classes to familiarize them with the structure, style and peculiarities of our particular Web site. They are more than capable of taking it from there. This is a work very early in its progress; the details will work themselves out.
The two are, however, interested only in webmastering, or the administration of the Web site, not the journalistic-photographic role that has taken up so much of my time and is my professional background.
The “Want to be a reporter?” question is still open. Should anyone have an interest in covering events here, whether it be an HOA meeting or the next Dietz and Watson fire, let me know. I was an editor for more than three decades. I know how to teach the not very complicated skill of story construction. All that's needed is a notebook and a camera, and the former can be digital and the latter, in your phone.
The plan is for Mark and Joe to do the bulk of the functions of the Web site that involve listing of events, updating of contact lists for the Board and the committees, Announcements and things like the Social and Travel Club pages.
Contacting the Web site to have information posted or for technical support will be little changed. To e-mail any or all of us, one familiar address, the one near the bottom of the home page, fits all: firstname.lastname@example.org reaches us all.
My phone number remains 764-3733. Joe Veldon's is 255-5131. Mark Rosen's is 609-254-9243.
Expect to see visual changes to the site as well: implementation of functions I haven't had the time, interest or skill to mount, a more modern look, new tools for Web site users. Already there have been a couple of subtle changes: site-wide default 12-point rather than 10-point body type for older eyes; RSS national and international news feeds through the “News You Can Use” logo on the home page, “layered” subheads on a new, secondary home page.
As a result of Joe and Mark's efforts, expect three immediate changes:
Anne Silverberg, who is now a trustee-in-training, can be relieved of the burden of maintaining the Calendar.
Her husband Peter, chair of the Multimedia Committee, publisher of Newton's News and my long-time assistant webmaster, will have someone in the same time zone to finesse the posting of the stories he writes and photos he takes when I'm traveling. I will be able to revert to something closer to the role I had during the first six months of the Web site's existence, before Nov. 7, 2005, the day the first Webmaster and the site's other co-founder (also – there's a pattern here – then of Pennington Court) quit in a huff and I went from handling just the news end to running the whole shebang.
I am very grateful to my two new partners for stepping up – and proving, once again, that whatever skills are needed they can be found among out residents. I hope the entire community will join me in welcoming them.
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