On April 1 - April Fools Day - I published an article entitled: The Future of Morning Star News
It tells the story of why Ken Anderson the editor of the News Paper has not been personally online at the Newspaper, and why he doesn't answer his emails. The article asserts that he has sold the newspaper to me.
The article was a hoax. It was an April Fools Day Joke - of sorts!
I say 'of sorts', because it was more than a prank. You see, I do not know where Ken Anderson the Owner and Editor of Magic City Morning Star is, or what he is doing. For 9 months I have been completely 'in the dark'.
Recently however, 'local police' informed one of the writers that Ken is quite safe, well, and just taking a break. But if that were true, then why has Ken not replied to any of my emails or given me any information at all about when he will return to his post?
Nine months ago he sent me an angry email for daring to ask writers to once again send their articles to me, after I discovered that 'once again' he had been offline for over a week. He stated at that time that his 'cash paying' job was keeping him from publishing. Thinking then that he was away earning a living, I just continued to keep publishing.
Since then, I have sent him emails, and even requested his friend David Crews (who recently published his own article at Magic City) to pass on a message to Ken. Neither of them have replied to my emails.
During these past nine months, I have been left to either keep the paper running or let it die.
Nine months of keeping the newspaper running, with no communication from the Editor as to his wishes and intentions, qualifies, (I think), as more than just patience, especially when you consider that I don't get paid and in fact, pay money to keep the Newspaper running.
As stated in that hoax article, "Numerous writers have written to yours truly to inquire why Ken has been away so long, and why he doesn't answer his emails". - I have no answer to such questions!
I also wrote: "If you want to know more about the future of Magic City Morning Star News, feel free to ask Ken". - It was my hope that some people might do so because there is no point asking me because I don't know!
As also stated in the article:
- Ken is not in Jail. - This is apparently True!
He is not ill. - This is apparently True!
He is not divorced. - This is apparently True!
He has not become lazy leaving the work to the stupid foreigner. - Unless he is dead, what other explanation is there?
He has sold the Newspaper. - Not True!
After helping Ken out for two months in 2008, by publishing writer's submissions using my own article manager, Ken, without any prompting from me, and without asking if I wanted it, gave me access to the Editorial function by which I can publish all writers articles in their own column. He also spent some time teaching me how to remove unwanted 'background' coding from articles - something about which most writers are unaware.
Although I do not know him, have never spoken to him on the phone, and have never met him, I have been there to assist him. I have told him that I will continue to publish the paper as long as he needs me to, but have asked him to give me some indication of his intentions. He has remained silent.
From August of 2009 when Ken stopped publishing to the end of November, I just did my best to publish what came my way. Then I introduced the Photograph of the Day section, and solicited the help of T.D. Polo-Sanchez and John J. Walsh with whom I was at that time in contact.
I then began emailing writers who had not already been sending their material to me, and asked them to do so. I wrote an article about being accused of supporting Republican hopeful Jason Levesque whilst not publishing other political material and as a result, the Michaud team contacted me and began sending press releases. From there I went on to sign up for other political press releases.
I have done what I can in the absence of the Editor to keep the material coming, and to provide as much as I can for readers to read. I have been very fortunate to have been provided with a lot of 'advance material' by such people as Martha Stevens-David, T.D.Polo-Sanchez, J. Grant Swank Jr, and John J. Walsh. I express my thanks to them for providing me with such material - weeks in advance of publication. I've even received the odd letter or submission from readers who took advantage of my call for submissions.
But the continued absence of the Editor does however cause me some concern. I ask myself, 'Unless he is dead, (and even then there is no real excuse), why has he or someone, not contacted me. No one, no friend, family member or acquaintance has contacted me'.
I had imagined that there must have been a very substantial reason for failing to contact me. After all, it only takes a few moments to write that he is having some problems (he or his go between need not actually tell me the problem) and request me to keep the newspaper going until he returns. But this has never happened.
When I received news that the local police say that he is fine and healthy, I couldn't help but conclude that Ken Anderson has decided to close Magic City Morning Star News. He obviously does not intend to renew his 'hosting service'. When next the bill falls due, and he fails to pay it, the newspaper will disappear from the internet. What other explanation can there be?
And since Nine months have now passed with no involvement on his part, it is a certainty that the Newspaper will soon fold.
I had hoped that perhaps Ken was just pissed off with me, or punishing me for having 'dared' to do my utmost to see that readers had fresh material everyday. I had thought that perhaps he was just being childish and throwing a tantrum, but that after a while he would be back at the helm. But nothing!
I even sent him the original copy of this article hoping to stir him to step in before I could publish it. Nothing!
I wrote that hoax article to get a reaction from Ken, because if I stop publishing, then both readers and search engine prominence will disappear if he does not immediately take up the reins. You can't have people coming to the newspaper everyday if you don't have something there everyday, and despite the fact that it is a 'local' paper, most readers are not local people. The internet puts you on the world stage.
Well - I failed to attract Ken's attention. What I did do however was piss quite a lot of people off.
One person CLAIMED to have driven to Millinocket and stayed overnight in a hotel, just to meet me. How would you feel to then discover that my presence in Millinocket was a hoax?
One writer wrote a wonderful piece about the change of ownership; thanking Ken for his years of dedication and expressing the hope of working closely with me in future. I don't think he was too impressed to find out that my article was a hoax.
Another wrote to express disappointment at being informed that my announcement was a hoax.
Another writer sent me a very angry letter and stopped communicating with me for several days. [After my apology I received this: Mr. BenDedek, I have read thru your apology below and commend you for having the intestinal fortitude to stand up and admit that you were wrong to play such a trick on us.]
To these people I do apologize for causing them embarrassment and disappointment.
But for writing the article, I cannot apologize.
I fully realize what a prize dope I have been for extending a helping hand to an American. I have always known not to do that. And especially to a 'Christian' American.
So there you have it.
I have to say 'sorry' to Hector Arrache and Robert Hartford for not being able to continue publishing your photographs and I do apologize to Martha for 'tricking' you, and to Doug Wrenn for the embarrassment of discovering that you had wasted your time writing that wonderful article. I also apologize to James Fabiano for getting you involved in a project that I won't be around to complete. Perhaps you can involve Ken in it - if he ever comes back and hasn't decided to scrap the newspaper.
I apologize to Chiara Braccagni, Captain Sandy Stewart, T.D.Polo-Sanchez, John J. Walsh, Wm Fankboner and Steven Shamrak for introducing you to and involving you in this newspaper and then leaving you high and dry. If Ken comes back, you will have to send your material to him. I will not pass it on or publish it for you at Magic City. I will however continue to do it at Kingscalendar.
I apologize to Jason Levesque, Michael Michaud and Julie Lisnet for the shock you will get when I bounce your emails.
And I apologize to all those wonderful writers who have struck up friendships with me and who have done their utmost to keep me supplied with articles for Magic City.
I could have and would have worked with Ken to share his workload leaving him free to earn his living, and continued to keep your articles published quickly, but as far as I can tell, Ken Anderson is either dead or he intends to fold Magic City Morning Star News. If the truth is otherwise, then I can only say that there has been enough time passed in which to advise me.
Whatever the truth may be, the question that begs an answer is: 'Why keep the Newspaper running?
The answer to that question will appear in tomorrow's edition!