As John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd said in the movie Blues Brothers, "We're trying to put the band back together." Well, sort of.
This is BocaJump, a hyperlocal website described by one of our members as "Elgin's concierge." (for an explanation of the name, read further).
The site is dedicated to being the single source for information and news about Elgin dining, entertainment, sports, recreation and leisure, education, government, the Gail Borden Library, the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, neighborhoods, not for profit groups, religious and faith-based organizations and just about anything else uniquely Elgin.
The band referred to include some of the characters and contributors that readers of the Courier News enjoyed over the years. E.C. Mike Alft's columns, repeats of his best over the past 25 years, will be republished here with his gracious permission.
Mike Murschel, a frequent contributor to the faith-based scene over the years, returns here as a regular columnist.
Paul Challacombe, a long-time contributor to Opinion pages of the Courier News, will bring his unique perspective to Boca Jump.
Former Courier News Managing Editor and columnist Mike Bailey will supervise the information gathering and resume writing his column which, as it did for 33 years, will appear weekly, each Monday.
Other columnists will include John Bailey on entertainment and Steve Munson on tech and applications to local businesses.
With a heavy emphasis on local restaurants, entertainment and events, BocaJump will present a comprehensive event calendar, information and short reviews of Elgin night spots, unique dining and entertainment opportunities, polls, reader participation features, and on-line forums.
We are counting heavily on community participation as we get this enormous venture underway. In fact, Boca Jump Elgin will reflect just about any worthwhile community news you want to contribute. Eventually, that is. We will constantly add features and updates as we go along. We had to start it sometime, but we hope that the momentum we generate will carry it to the point where Elginites will sustain it with their own contributions and posts.
Boca Jump is a private venture owned and operated by BocaJump LLC. But it is a community website, dedicated to everything that makes Elgin, Ill. a unique and distinctive place.
What is a BocaJump?
In the mid-1990s, it became clear that newspaper circulation had peaked and was in serious decline. Newspapers tried a variety of ways to reverse the accelerating deterioration and one of the most dramatic (at least for newspapers) was engineered by the Boca Raton, Fla., newspaper. It debuted a completely new style of page design that varied the width of columns, used icons like pink flamingos, put type in the white space between columns and one other marked departure from standard newspaper design — the Boca jump — for which this venture is named.
When a story starts on the front page of the paper and is continued to an inside page, that continuation is called a "jump." The page on which the story continues is called the jump page. The Boca Raton paper eliminated jumps and instead, used a different variety of a story continuation by running a photo on the front page with a few paragraphs of the story and then ran the whole story and photo inside.
Focus groups told newspaper management they didn't like jumps because they had to turn back and forth through the pages of the newspaper. So the paper tried something different by running a photo and the first three or four paragraphs of the story on the front page to give readers a flavor of the story and the re-running the same photo larger and the whole story inside. That technique was adopted by newspapers across the country and became known as a Boca Jump.
We chose the name for several reasons; it represents a bold and daring approach to disseminating news and information; metaphorically, it represents a jump from the past to the future; all the really cool names were already taken. But more that first one.
And to answer the obvious question, did the Florida newspaper redesign experiment work? Marvelously. At first. They gained something like 60,000 new subscribers in the months following the redesign. Sadly, they lost them all within a short time and the decline continued.
The paper ceased publication on Aug. 21, 2009.
But they did not fail completely. They gave us our name.