Welcome to The News Cafe, a virtual meeting place where members can share their thoughts and questions about the news of the day — or any topic — and where we select a subject for in-depth analysis. All this will be compiled into bulletins, available to subscribers.

So fill your cup with your favorite drink, pull up a chair, and join us at The News Cafe. Give us your thoughts through the online form here, or Tweet your message to to us @The_News_Cafe.

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Subscriptions to The News Cafe bulletins are just $5.00 per month, and may be canceled at any time. Click HERE or on the image below to join the community:

The Buzz

Save the Date, Bristol!

I had the privilege of attending yet another well-run meeting by Moderator Ned Gordon at Bristol’s Town Meeting on St. Patrick’s day. Whatever your feeling about the outcome, the 180 or so who came out for the bulk of the meeting discussed both sides of many issues and voted, and actually effected some change vs. what was proposed by officials. Democracy in action!

As a point of fact, they ultimately got into some pretty good detail about a Town Budget for Bristol in excess of $5 Million --- that discussion was so refreshing to hear.

My question is, why is there such low turnout at the School District’s equivalent meeting, held the first Saturday in February, from not just ALL the seven towns (it seems to me) but especially Bristol who pays almost 1/3 of the roughly $24 Million budget? That’s (again roughly) about $8 Million you simply bequeath us with virtually no such equivalent interest in participation. Puzzling to me, indeed. Please accept this invitation to attend -- and with equivalent enthusiasm and cordiality -- whenever it finally gets scheduled, but be advised it’s been the first Saturday in February the past several years, and with only 4 articles this year, didn’t take long at all.

SAVE the DATE ! Top o’ the season to ya!

Vincent Paul O’Migliore
School Board Representative
Bridgewater

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Background: The News Cafe traces its roots to the late 1990s when Tom Caldwell published The Telegram in Franklin NH. There was a brick patio in front of the office, and he had a vision of setting up an assortment of newspapers for people to peruse while enjoying coffee and pastries that would be provided by local restaurants on a rotating basis. Those patrons who were willing to participate would discuss the day's news on video, to be shown on public access television and published in an expanded format in The Telegram. (This was at the same time he was developing the idea for the Liberty Independent Media Project, which would present stories in various formats, for print, web, and cable.)

The concept was never implemented at the time, but he brought it up again after moving on to The Citizen of Laconia NH. Management never bought into the concept of offering competitors' papers as well as their own, so the idea was dropped again. He would offer the suggestion one more time, at the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News, but again it didn't gain traction.

By this time, the trend was moving away from getting information from a printed newspaper and toward online news sources, making the physical newsstand unnecessary. And with email and social media, the comments could be gathered on the go ... so why not make The News Cafe a virtual gathering-place for those with computers, tablets, and smartphones?

And so, here we are — and welcome.

Many of these stories could just as easily be published in traditional media, except that newspapers struggling to adapt and survive are limiting their content to bring costs in line with revenues. It may be a self-defeating strategy, but it means that there are stories that are not being told, and that is what we aim to do here. And that is why we are charging a modest subscription fee as compensation for the time it takes to put all this together. It is a continuing work in progress, and will be shaped by those who "drop in" for a visit.