This is no ordinary publication, it has a much greater purpose

If you are reading this, keep in mind that this is not a traditional news publication.

This is a civic journalism project, the latest in a chain of Observer publications intended to empower everyday people by giving them a platform to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences on the same plain as the representatives they put in office as well as other community leaders, business owners, school officials, etc.

The only stipulations are that anyone who chooses to submit items for publication must use their real name and, by doing so, take ownership of their words.

Once a writer creates a membership account online, they are immediately able to make their voice part of the conversation regarding any topic they choose.

Far too often, a small handful of outspoken individuals are able to drown out the ideas of their soft spoken peers. This is a shame for some of the most intelligent among us are often some of the quietest. This publication can be a remedy to that unfortunate symptom of today's society but only if those with something to say make the choice to get involved and take advantage of what this is.

No one should cave to fear of criticism that often accompanies the sharing of viewpoints in an open forum such as the Observer. It is far more scary to surrender the power of speech to only a select few who may or may not have others' best interests in mind.

This isn't a newspaper where readers tell the editorial staff, "Hey, you guys should write about this, that and the other thing," it's a paper where the reader says, "I am going to be the one to write about this, that and the other thing." And it will be published and hopefully get others intrigued enough to go from simply being passive readers to active contributors, writing about what is important to them and engaging in on-going, civil conversations.

If you don't see something in print or online that you feel should be there, you can do something about it. If you feel there aren't enough stories about the schools, local charities, arts and entertainment, that there is too much negativity or too much fluff, you can do something about it. All you have to do is submit a story.

All submissions will be published in print and/or online. Time-sensitive items will get top priority in print while items not bound by a timetable will publish on line relatively quickly but may run the risk of getting pumped to a later print issue, depending on space.

This publication is intended to be a reflection of the community's identity, its values and its people. For that reason, we strongly urge that contributors think before they write and maintain some sense of civility. Remember that you are writing for your neighbors and while all opinions are welcome, good, bad or ugly, we reserve to the right to edit out any language that is vulgar, threatening or blatantly false.

If any person or persons provide proof that a factual error occurred in an article, a correction will be printed in a subsequent issue in the same general location where the error appeared.

That being said, no one should ever feel that their words lack value or that they don't have a place in this publication because they do and there are many people involved in the Observer Media Project who are willing to help anyone who needs help figuring out what that place is.

Robert Rozboril

I am an alumnus of Cleveland State University with a B.A. in Journalism and Promotional Communication. After graduating in 2011, I covered news and sports full-time for four years. When I'm not working, I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter. We are expecting a son in August. My hobbies include music and astronomy.

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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 5:24 PM, 07.07.2016