Hi, we’re Deborah and Bob Brown, and we’ve been covering local news since 2005. Our focus has been Wellesley, but in our quest for world domination, we’ve taken our talents across the border to start Natick Report.
Why Natick? Because we bought our first house here, a small Cape near Roche Bros. Once we checked that box, we had babies and brought them to the Natick Cooperative Playgroup, where we all got properly socialized. Heck, we still have besties in town who we’d lay down in traffic for. So that’s why Natick. We may have lived here for only eleven years, but those were seriously formative years, people.
Bob graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Deborah graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Yes, we were in college at the same time. And yes, it’s a meet-cute story that resulted in love, marriage, a mortgage, kids — all the things. We’ll tell you more about it someday.
With Natick Report, we strive to provide a central source of news and information about the town for residents, those who work here, and visitors. While our focus is on Natick, we also venture beyond town borders to cover restaurants that might be of interest to you, as well as cultural events, plays in Boston, and nearby vacation getaways.
The Swellesley Report, our other online news venture, started out as a highfalutin hobby. An experiment in civic duty we took on in the spirit of exploring online community journalism, if you will. The hobby then turned into a beast, which we’ve wrestled into a revenue-producing career. Fine, maybe it’s actually online journalism and its 24/7 demands that have wrestled us into submission, but we’re not complaining.
But how did The Reports really, really start?
That’s the question we get most often, so we’ll tell you how The Reports really, really started. It was a cold, wintry day. The snow was falling, and our young kids wanted to go sledding. But where? We took our question to the computer, but the great and mighty Lord Internet turned up nothing. No guide to area sledding hills came up, no top-ten lists, no warnings about hills that lead straight into swamps. Nothing. We’re resourceful people, so we managed to find a fun place with little difficulty. But a bee had been put into Bob’s baseball cap.
“You know,” he said later over a cup of hot chocolate. “We should start a blog. It would be good for us from a professional development perspective. Learn something new and all that.”
Deborah, knowing Bob would do most of the work, heartily agreed.
We decided on WordPress as a platform, and got going. At first, content creation was mostly Bob’s doing. He’d post a couple of times per week, then daily, then multiple times a day. He’s the type to ramp things up, fast. Deborah would keep her ear to the ground and her camera ready as she carpooled the kids around town and did general stay-at-home parent stuff. Bob claims he encouraged her to keep learning more about the technical side of the site. Deborah says his encouragement was more like grooming. Either way, Deborah’s fears that as a stay-at-home mom she was becoming workplace obsolete started to fall away. Those fears were replaced by an epiphany: that husband of hers had figured out a sneaky way to get her back into paid employment.
As our site became more popular, together Bob and I increased the commitment level. Businesses started asking if we took on advertisers. We looked at each other. Do we? We’re not dumb, so yes, we positively took on advertisers. That yes to monetizing our one-time hobby changed our lives.
Before long, two people who considered themselves creative types who knew nothing about business had shifted their thinking. Today, we still identify as creatives. But now we’re also entrepreneurs traveling fast and furiously up an incredibly rewarding learning curve.
Hang with us, won’t you? This is going to be fun for everyone.
We don’t do The Reports alone
The content on Natick Report is also contributed by other guest authors and photographers, and as far as we’re concerned, the more of that the better. Share your stories and news tips with us.
Bob and Deborah Brown, (co-editors): email@example.com
Website design/tech support: Tech Tamer
Sean Landry says
Great to see this happening. Great job Bob and Deborah!