Welcome to the Ozarks Independent!

Welcome to the newest news source in the Ozarks!

We’re happy to bring you the Ozarks Independent, or as we call it when we’re emailing each other, the OI.  Our goal is to bring you a hyper-locally focused news source for the Ozarks.

The President does something crazy?  Won’t see it here.  Speaker of the House isn’t from southwest Missouri?  No stories on their latest antics.  There are more than enough national news sources out there to cover them.  We’re locally focused.

That means you’ll hear about something from D.C. when a local representative or Senator is involved.  Statewide news from outside the Ozarks will be reported when it has a direct impact on the Ozarks.

A cookie fundraising drive by Reading is Fundamental to pay for books for elementary students in local schools?  You’ll see that.

A local shelter for survivors of abuse in need of donations of clothing?  That’s news for us.

A local official caught skimming money off the top and putting it in their pocket?  We’ll cover that too.

Our goal is to be a place where you can find trustworthy news about happenings throughout the Ozarks without spin or bias.  We joke around with each other that our site is a news McDLT….the news part is news, the opinion page is the opinion.  They’ll be kept separate.

Now, that means if you’re someone who only likes to see things from your political point of view, you probably won’t like us much…and that’s OK.  Our goal is to have both sides of the political spectrum unhappy because we’re reporting something that reflects well on their opposition and reflects poorly upon their chosen side.  If both extremes of the spectrum feel that way, then we’ll know we’re pretty close to being without bias in our coverage.  

We’ll be transparent when what we post are press releases or articles submitted by local organizations.  For example, when the athletics department of Missouri State sends us a recap of a Lady Bears game, you’ll see “by Missouri State Athletics” at the top of the story.  

Yes, we’ll run press releases and recaps written by places like the Missouri State or Drury or Evangel athletic departments.  Our staff involves only one full-time staffer right now, so in order to provide you the most complete coverage possible, we’ll be publishing some items like press releases as we launch.  We just want to be transparent up front about items like that which will appear on the site.

We’ll have in-depth coverage of Springfield City Council and government, the Greene County Commision and other organizations with original coverage.  We won’t be running press releases on their own for something that’s not either a game recap for a sporting event or a charitable event or public service.  So, for example, we may run a press release from City Utilities about ways you can help prepare your home for winter to save on your electric bill, but we won’t run an uncontested press release from them if they’re trying to sneak through a rate increase.

Now, one of the things you’ll notice is that we don’t have comment sections on our stories.  We may be adding that in the future, but for now we simply don’t have the ability to hire a staffer to monitor all conversations and watch for racist, sexist or threatening comments (for example.)  You will be able to comment on our Facebook page, but those comments are subject to Facebook’s rules and moderation, and we will have no power over what Facebook may do with your comments.  Being honest, we’re not happy with that, but we can only do so much as we get this venture underway.  When faced with the choice between moderating comments or tracking down information about a clothing drive for students in need, the latter will win every single time.

Now, while we may not have comments on the stories, we do want to hear from you.  Our opinion page will feature both “Emails to the Editor” and opportunities for op-ed pieces on items that impact our community.   You can always email us at opinion@ozarksindependent.com.  We may not print every email but you’ll read views from your neighbors from all sides of the political and social arenas.  We firmly believe that one of the best ways to be informed is to have your views factually challenged and you, in turn, forced to find facts to back your beliefs.  Healthy discussion can happen even on the most passion inducing issues that can cause growth in people on both sides of any issue.

We’ll be publishing stories Monday through Friday (initially) and try to provide weekend coverage for big events when possible.  (Again, we only have one full-time staff member, so 24/7/365 coverage just isn’t feasible for us right now.)  We also won’t be able to cover every single news event in the Ozarks because there’s just not enough hours in the day and cloning hasn’t been perfected yet.

We will be selling advertising to keep the newspaper growing and serving the community and also to allow the staff to eat.  We also pledge that a minimum of 10 percent of our ad space will always be dedicated to promoting non-profit groups and ministries in the Ozarks.  We believe in organizations that are trying to make a difference in our community like Harmony House or Crosslines or Convoy of Hope…and the list could go on and on.  The people of the Ozarks have always had a heart for helping those in need and we want to help make people aware of groups doing good work where you can give your financial support and volunteer your time.

But if you’re a business owner, you might have one of us call on you to discuss advertising and partnering with our efforts in the community.  If you’d like to join with us, drop us an email at ads@ozarksindependent.com.

One final thing…we’re asking for a little grace in our first few weeks as we get this rolling.  We have no webmaster or IT department, so it’s possible you’ll find a broken link here or there or a typo or two in an article.  We aren’t going to claim perfection but we’ll certainly strive for it.  

Thank you for visiting OI and we hope that you’ll find us to be a valuable asset to your life and that of your family and friends.