News Archives

Neverspeak Weekly 7/28/15

Ten Delicious Decades! As mentioned last week, the Jolly Roger Soda Ship is celebrating its 100th anniversary tomorrow, July 29th. The crew will be hosting an all-day party at the shop with yummy treats and music from Fish Girl Pond. In addition, shop owner Aimée Jolie will be posting an extensive history of the shop, chronicling its decades-long presence in Neverland and it’s ever-evolving role as a gathering place throughout the tumultuous twentieth century in America.

Reality Bites. Since the return of Jas Hook and Wendy Darling to Neverland, some Neverlandians have been tuning into the JHMedia Livestream to learn more about the company (and feed their curiosity about the power couple). Last Thursday those same Neverlandians witnessed a shocking confrontation between Hook and Neverland’s favorite son Peter Pan. Peter came across as, for lack of a better word, a bully. It will be interesting to see how he handles his new notoriousness.  Is the play really the thing?

Get me to the Church… Sarah-Jane Lakewood set a date for her nuptials to fiance Alfie. Neverlandians, mark your calendars for August 15, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Should be a hot ticket! As in literally very hot. August in Louisiana hot. Lakewood says invitations will be going out soon. Don’t give her honeymoon advice if you want to make the list!

Changes of Heart (and Location). Teresa Delacruz has relocated to New York City with her boyfriend Neal. Though everyone will be sad to see less of her, we wish her the best with her new life. And if you’ve stopped by Neverland Books lately, you’ve probably noticed that Mia Rivers still has not returned to her post. You only have to look so far as her tumblr to find that she’s currently residing at a crossroads between Neverland and Denver.  Though not always an easy thing to do, try to follow your heart where it leads, Mia!

New Sheriff in Town. G. Harrison Lestrade has been offered the job of Neverland’s Deputy Sheriff pending a background check. But, since he comes directly from the FBI, that shouldn’t be a problem! While we’ve had to say goodbye to a couple of Neverlandians, we are excited to welcome him and accountant Wesley Parsons (who’s looking for a roommate!) to the community full time.

Local Blues. Neverlandians were dismayed to read last week’s editorial in which John Darling, assistant to the Editor in Chief, opened up about the Kensington Chronicle’s financial difficulties. As a recent hire, this gossip columnist found the the article especially distressing. However, it’s been encouraging to watch Neverlandians gather around the paper in support. Many citizens have pledged to pick up subscriptions and the Neverland Care Center guaranteed that copies of the Chronicle would always be available in its waiting room. Keep supporting local news!

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Posted in Neverspeak
Posted on July 28, 2015

Print is Dead. Long Live Print?

Is print dead? It’s a complicated question. Here’s what we know: The New York Times bought The Boston Globe for $1.1 billion in 1993. In 2013, Red Sox owner John Henry bought the paper for $70 million. In just 20 years, the Globe depreciated in value by more than a billion dollars. Starting in 2009, a photojournalist named Will Steacy spent 5 years documenting the decline of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the third oldest surving paper in our nation. Between 1990 and 2009, the Inquirer laid off nearly 500 of their 700 staff. The paper, once housed in a Daily-Planet like art deco building colloquially referred to as the Tower of Truth, was relegated in 2012 to the third floor of a former department store on the periphery of the city. Once known for breaking important local and international stories, like the Opec Oil scandal in 1973, the Inquirer is down to a circulation of merely 150,000, and boasts ad revenues that are 25% of what they were a decade ago. And I’m sure most of us native Ohioans remember when the Brown Publishing Company filed for Chapter 11 in 2012. Brown owned 18 daily newspapers, 27 paid weeklys, many of which were in our proud state.

And if you’ve been following my father on Twitter, you’ll know that he may be a little too open about just how much this decline in the valuation of print newspapers has affected the Kensington Chronicle. I debated whether or not to write this at all, because dyed-in-the-wool newspapermen are trained not to make themselves the story, so stories of the demise of hyperlocal papers like our own have been in many cases woefully untold. But since this is indeed an editorial, I felt it was not entirely inappropriate for me to editorialize. Additionally, putting up a brave front in the face of declining print sales does nothing for you loyal readers who still pick up a physical copy of the paper on a daily basis. If we’re in dire financial straits, our loyal readership should be the first to know. Because it’s you who will be most affected if the family dynasty that is the Kensington Chronicle ceases to exist..

As much as I have been a strong proponent for the digital edition of the Chronicle, I am well aware of just how much online news sources have contributed to the decline in print newspapers. Classified ads, once the lifeblood of many papers, have largely migrated to websites like Craigs List. And one of the true casualties of online news sources muscling out their print competitors is local civic pride. Who will cover local mayoral and city council races if papers like the Chronicle fold?

On the other hand, doomsayers have been declaring that print is dead for at least a decade, and they have, strictly speaking, yet to be proven right. I can only hope that people across the U.S. are realizing that they should turn to online sources for certain types of news, and papers like the Chronicle for the hyperlocal fare that is our bread and butter. I urge all of you readers to renew your print subscriptions to the paper, and to spread the word about us. Because even though Father is being somewhat candid about the paper’s financial situation, I feel as if he is shielding me and the rest of my family from the worst of it. Losing this paper would be like losing a part of myself. And we will not go quietly into that dark night; not if I have anything to say about it.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 23, 2015

The Importance of Being George

In honor of Father’s Day this year, I thought it was long since time I wrote a piece on the man responsible for bringing you the Kensington Chronicle 7 days a week 52 weeks a year, my father and our editor in chief, George Darling. And how, if not for a chance meeting more than 30 years ago at the Neverland Train Station, I wouldn’t even be here.

As you can no doubt imagine, it takes a certain kind of person to run a newspaper day in and day out. George Darling is driven, organized, and knows how and when to delegate. But believe it or not, my father was not always the taskmaster he is today. Though George is loath to admit it himself, my grandfather, David Darling, has imparted to me on more than one occasion that in his formative years, my father was relatively aimless. David Darling saw his son’s potential, but feared that George was in danger of squandering it. George, for his part, wanted the freedom to make his own choices, and in those days, being groomed to take over the family business was the furthest thing from what he wanted.

David Darling was ultimately able to impress upon his son the importance of getting a college education, and George begrudgingly enrolled at Neverland University, from which he emerged four years later with a degree in English and Journalism. But this was far from the last time George and his father would engage in a heated debate about the direction of his life. Not long after graduating, George and David would have the most contentious fight of this kind to date. At an impasse, a furious George stormed off, intent on fleeing Neverland for parts unknown. But fate had other plans.

It just so happened that the woman working the ticket counter at the Neverland Train Station that fateful day was one Mary Davies. To hear my father tell it, once he locked eyes with Mary for the first time, the rest of the world faded away. She was the most beautiful creature George had ever laid eyes on, and from that moment forward, he never thought about leaving Neverland again.

For much of my life, I’ve harbored the belief that romantic entanglements are a distraction, at best. But in recent months, I’ve begun to revise that opinion. I’ve seen evidence of how the right pairing can create a union that is far greater than the sum of its parts. And this was absolutely the case with George and Mary Darling in the early years of their courtship. Now, starting a family was at the forefront of George’s mind, and he decided to put his journalism degree to good use. Much to David Darling’s relief, his son finally agreed to follow in his footsteps, and Grandfather could rest assured that the dynasty of Darlings at the helm of the Kensington Chronicle would continue, unabated.

And, of course, for my money, the most important result of the union of George and Mary Darling is their three children, myself and my siblings. I, personally, have been a newspaperman from the womb, and the paper will be in good hands when my father does decide to retire. So we at the Chronicle wish George Darling, and all of you other fathers out there, a very happy Father’s Day. We owe all of you a debt we can never possibly repay.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on June 22, 2015

Neverland Without Wendy

This week, I thought I’d write a follow-up to my last editorial about my sister Wendy leaving Neverland. In the run-up to her departure, I was so gung-ho about what this career move meant for Wendy that I barely stopped to think about how her leaving would affect me. Now that a couple of months have passed, the impact of her flight has begun to stick out in stark relief.

For instance, before now I don’t think I ever consciously acknowledged just how important Wendy’s presence was in the ecosystem of our apartment. When it was me, Wendy and Michael living together, there was a delicate balance to the universe. Now that it’s just me and Michael… Well, he and I are both still alive, so I guess things aren’t as bad as they could be. And don’t get me wrong, I love my brother dearly, but I never quite realized the extent to which he is incapable of doing almost anything for himself. Wendy was always as much like a mother to Michael as a sister, and now those motherly duties are falling to the only sibling that yet remains.

I’m also feeling Wendy’s absence more directly. When you’ve seen someone day in and day out for as long as you can remember, it’s difficult to describe just how much of a void you feel after they’ve gone. And while Wendy and I were decidedly diligent about keeping in contact on a daily basis in the immediate aftermath of her departure, as the weeks wear on I fear we have both been woefully remiss in maintaining this level of communication. Wendy’s sojourn to the big city marks the first time that any of my siblings have been absent from Neverland for this length of time, and I’d be lying if I said that I’m entirely equipped to deal with the situation. To one degree or another, Wendy had been helping me muddle through almost all of the things I struggle with as a prototypical millennial, and with her gone, I must admit I’m starting to feel a bit like a ship without a rudder.

That said, I guess you can’t really expect your loved ones will ever learn to fly if they always keep one foot in the nest. I suppose on some level I always understood that Wendy’s life post-Neverland couldn’t begin in earnest until our beloved hometown had receded sufficiently into her rearview mirror. The toughest thing about encouraging your friends and loved ones to follow their dreams is that sometimes said dreams take them worlds away, and threaten to make your once-entwined paths finally and inevitably diverge. I can say, categorically, that Neverland is not the same without Wendy, and I have no doubt that Wendy’s life has undergone a concomitant change as well. I only hope that, in the final analysis, the old axiom about change being good turns out to be true in this case. And I suppose, so far as that goes, only time will tell.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on August 15, 2014

Flying the Coop

As most of you loyal “It’s Dear Darling” viewers probably already know, my sister Wendy has left Neverland for a cushy job in the big city. Working at JH Media really is a dream job for her, and I couldn’t be happier about it. And if I’m being honest, I’ve kind of seen this coming for a long time; because, while my dream is here, Wendy was never going to be able to reach her full potential in Neverland. And don’t get me wrong, if I got an offer to be a newspaperman for a prestigious paper in the big city, I’m not saying I wouldn’t have to think long and hard about it, but in the final analysis, I am perfectly happy climbing the ladder here at our local paper. Because sooner or later our dear father George Darling will have to retire (though I daren’t tell him that!), and I can’t imagine the Kensington Chronicle without a Darling at the helm.

However, “It’s Dear Darling” was essentially the pinnacle of what Wendy would have been able to achieve at the Chronicle, and I’ve always known that she’s destined for bigger things than that. Which is not to say that it was easy for her to leave. It takes a certain kind of person to leave behind her parents, her siblings, her friends, and make a new life for herself hundreds of miles from the place she’s called home for her entire life. The Kensington Chronicle’s own Peter Pan likes to fancy himself an adventurer, but for my money there is no braver soul in all of Neverland than my sister Wendy.

I do sometimes wonder, however, just what is the cost of pursuing your dreams? As I’ve mentioned at least a couple of times before, as I toil day in and day out to make my professional dreams a reality, the refrain “What’s love got to do with it?” keeps coming up more and more frequently. Indeed, Wendy’s departure has threatened to tear her own burgeoning romance asunder, making me wonder anew if personal and professional satisfaction truly are mutually exclusive propositions. Juggling a career and a serious relationship has seemed like a bridge too far for many in my generation, and I think it begs the question, “What do you do when you have two dreams that are at odds?” And I suppose I don’t necessarily have a good answer to that question.

That said, when confronted with this choice herself, I believe Wendy came at it from a particularly refreshing angle. Some might say she chose professional aspirations over love, but I don’t exactly see it that way. I rather like to think that she’s elected to believe that, in situations like this, love finds a way. That distance can make the heart grow fonder, and true love can endure even the harshest trials.

So for all of you Neverlandians out there wrestling with this same choice, weighing the pros of following your dreams against the cons of leaving your old life behind, remember that your friends and loved ones will support you, whatever your decision. And pulling up roots for the big city needn’t be a sad commentary on the state of things here in Neverland; sometimes, the grass really is greener on the other side, and the only way to begin your new life is to go where your dreams take you.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on July 29, 2014

Kensington Darling: The Man, The Myth, The Legend

My dear Neverlandians, just last week we celebrated the 154th anniversary of the founding of Neverland, Ohio, by J.M. Barrie. Every year, my brother Michael, my sister Wendy and our friend Peter Pan (of Peter’s Panels fame) go on an expedition, retracing the path of J.M. Barrie and the people who originally settled our town. This year, we were happy that many of you, our dear friends and neighbors, accompanied us. And this time around, we decided to immortalize our journey on Twitter. As I mentioned in my editorial last week, the KensingtonChronicle.com will very shortly be adding a Storify section to our site, to highlight many of the local stories that make Neverland such a wonderful place to live. As soon as that is up and running, we will be posting an archive of our expedition, for those of you who were unable to attend. During our tour, I mentioned in passing the name Kensington Darling, my ancestor and this newspaper’s namesake. Back in 1862, Kensington founded this very paper, and in honor of our town’s 154th anniversary, I thought I’d take a few minutes to tell you about this seminal figure in Neverland’s history.

Kensington Darling was born and raised on the streets of London, living in poverty for most of his formative years. At the age of 5, Kensington got a job as a newspaper boy, where he worked all throughout college to be able to pay his tuition. After studying literature and business at university, a 25-year-old Kensington Darling set sail for America, the land of opportunity, where he hoped to fulfill his dream of owning his own newspaper. Kensington landed in Boston, and he quickly discovered that jobs were in short supply. He traveled up and down the Eastern seaboard pedaling his own brand of journalism, one that focused on the people and their stories rather than just the cold hard facts. But when Kensington was faced with rejection after rejection, he was forced to buckle under and take a job as a laborer for a group of settlers heading west from Washington D.C. And as many of you no doubt have already guessed, this band of intrepid pioneers were the same settlers that our beloved J.M. Barrie saved from a pack of black bears in 1860, the folks who would soon become our town founders.

While the Kensington Chronicle has been an institution in Neverland for almost the entirety of the town’s existence, Kensington Darling is perhaps best remembered by the world at large not as the founder of our hometown newspaper, but as the human race’s first ambassador to the fairy people. After stumbling onto a Gentle Place he later dubbed the Garden of Light, Kensington became the first man of record to discover the existence of fairies. And in so doing, he put our fledgling town on the map, and reminded people the world over that the Earth truly is a magical place. Selling this scoop of a lifetime netted Kensington enough money to bankroll the local newspaper that he had long been dreaming of, and the Kensington Chronicle has been owned and operated by a Darling ever since. Kensington built this paper from the ground up, and made it his mission to tell stories of the people and for the people of Neverland until the day he died.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on May 13, 2014

Stories are the Heart of Neverland

We at the Kensington Chronicle believe that stories are the lifeblood of our community. And the story of Neverland is comprised of you, me, our neighbors, all the amazing and quirky residents of our beloved town. Neverland may be small compared to a bustling metropolis like Columbus or Cincinnati, but it’s big enough that citizens can rest assured that there’s always going to be a few nooks and crannies that you’ve yet to discover. And one of the goals of bringing the Chronicle into the digital age is to help each and every one of our residents feel more connected to our community. So for today’s editorial, I thought I’d take a minute to give a little primer on all of the ways you proud denizens of Neverland can use KenstingtonChronicle.com to connect with your neighbors.

Despite our small-town mentality, Neverland has embraced social media in a big way, and I, for one, couldn’t be happier! For me, it’s managed to make our small town even smaller. The people have spoken, and it seems Neverland’s social platform of choice is Twitter. So if you’re looking for a fun way to interact with some of your Neverland neighbors, and you don’t already have a Twitter account, you may want to set one up post haste!

If you haven’t already done so, click on over to our Town Ledger. Many of our residents have already added their names and Twitter handles, and we encourage you to do the same!

And if you’re hunting for a roommate, a job, or just trying to rekindle a missed connection, look no further than KensingtonChronicle.com’s Classifieds section.

What’s more, this week we’re launching an exciting new section to our site, a Twitter archive where we’ll be collecting select Twitter exchanges from our myriad of townsfolk. Our hope is that this will help our readers keep a finger on the pulse of Neverland, and enable like-minded Neverlandians to find one another. Keep your eyes out for that in just a few days.

And remember, your efforts to connect with the community needn’t be confined to our website alone! Many or our residents have personal Tumblr accounts, and my brother Michael, operator of the Kensington Chronicle Tumblr, will be doing his darnedest to follow all of you local Tumblrs. Some of you have even set up YouTube accounts and begun vlogging your experiences here in Neverland, not unlike like Kensington Chronicle’s own Wendy Darling, advice columnist extraordinaire. And from me and everyone else at the paper, we say keep it up! These videos, blogs, and social accounts really help us put faces to names, and help make Neverland one of the most tight-knit communities in all of Ohio.

As I’m fond of saying, stories are the heart of Neverland. So tell us your stories, Neverlandians. We can’t wait to hear what you’ve got to say.

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on May 6, 2014

Entering the Digital Age

Ladies and gentlemen, I am ever so proud to welcome you to this, the digital arm of our beloved newspaper, the Kensington Chronicle. And let me start by assuaging the fears that more than a few of you have voiced around town: by no means do we intend for this website to replace the print edition of the Chronicle. Our daily paper is steeped in tradition, and it’s a tradition we fully intend to uphold. Our printing press has been churning out papers for more than 150 years, and we have no intention of stopping it now!

Furthermore, our mission statement, to provide the people of Neverland with authentically local news, has not changed, either.  While we’ll still cover national and international news that is relevant to our micropolitan community, our goal every day remains, first and foremost, to answer the question, “What’s going on in our community right now?” Much has been written about the failure of AOL’s local journalism experiment, Patch, but we firmly believe that it does not presage the demise of hyperlocal, hometown newspapers like the Kensington Chronicle. AOL was trying to be a national brand in a local market, and hyperlocal journalism just doesn’t scale that way. We see an opportunity to develop a digital platform that continues our dedication to enterprise journalism, content that unveils, informs and educates the community. I’m fond of saying that the Kensington Chronicle is a paper that’s of the people and for the people. We believe local news reporting is a responsibility and a privilege, and strive to serve Neverland with credibility, integrity and accountability.

In a landscape where legacy news media is being threatened by Internet news aggregators, low margins on Internet ads and our still less-than-stellar national economy, we at the Chronicle believe that we can develop a sustainable online model without having to hide our content behind a paywall, which will supplement our print edition rather than rendering it obsolete. That said, studies show that nearly half of adult Americans get some local news and information on their cell phones or tablet computers, and the information that they’re seeking out is practical and real time. We’re going to tailor our internet content to those needs, and continue to publish the quality, in-depth print edition that most of you enjoy over breakfast each morning.

So thank you for your continued support as we drag the Kensington Chronicle kicking and screaming into the digital age. It’s going to be quite the adventure.

The_New_York_Times_newsroom_1942

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Posted in Editorials
Posted on April 28, 2014

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