As the name suggests, Goshen Commons is intended to be a kind of public square where residents of the greater Goshen community can gather to share news and conversation. We promise to provide fresh content daily in the hope that you will visit once a day or even more often.
Goshen Commons is published by the Communication Department at Goshen College, with students at the college providing the core of the reporting staff. We also are pleased to present an all-star lineup of bloggers from among your friends and neighbors.
While we intend to selectively cover news stories, our numbers are small. We know there is much that we will leave to the competent hands of others in the field. Goshen is fortunate to have several excellent local papers providing coverage, including The Goshen News, The Elkhart Truth and El Puente. We urge you to show your support by subscribing to the papers.
In “Better Together: Restoring the American Community,” Robert D. Putnam and Lewis M. Feldstein describe the creation of social capital around the country. They note that communities with high levels of social capital usually have active and enduring local newspapers.
What is social capital? Putnam and Feldstein say it refers to social networks, mutual assistance and trustworthiness. Generally speaking, the more social capital in a community, the better. As with physical capital (tools) and human capital (education), social capital takes many forms: a weekly breakfast gathering of friends, a civic club like Kiwanis or Rotary, a church softball league, a 4-H network, a book group, a farmer’s market.
Networks can link people who are similar or share common interests (bonding social capital) or bring together people who are different (bridging social capital). We hope that Goshen Commons will be a place where both bonding and bridging can happen.
So far this sounds like a pretty high-minded venture. While we would be very pleased to contribute to the building of social capital in Goshen, we also want the site to be a place for the interesting, the quirky, the surprising. In short, Goshen Commons should be fun.
At its heart, Goshen Commons is an educational venture. The site provides an opportunity for a new generation of journalists to shape community journalism. Along with other university digital startups around the country, we hope to contribute in a small way to the creation of a more collaborative and nimble form of journalism.
Goshen Commons is a work in progress. We invite comments, suggestions, inquiries – and contributors. If you have a topic that you want us to report on or information to share, or if you would like to be a contributing writer or photographer, let us know. One way or another, we hope to hear from you.