January 18, 2007 - Deposit Ed
In Santa Barbara and everywhere else in world, old school newspapers are losing the battle against online media. News on paper becomes old news as soon as it is printed. Internet news, however, requires no printing and can be updated, expanded, and corrected at any time. In the information business, older and more expensive will always lose to newer and cheaper. And, newspapers are losing.
Two of the most outspoken media experts in town, Jerry Roberts and Doc Searls, have different opinions about what the death of the newspaper means. Roberts feels that news process is being compromised because today's news is rushed out the door with less editorial oversight than before. Doc Searls embraces the quick-to-publish model. Since readers of news items are no longer just passive consumers, they have the ability to comment, enhance, and correct online articles in real time. Searls feels that often members of "the group formerly known as the audience" have more knowledge on the subject at hand than any editor could every have. By having experts chime in,
articles which may have not been so hot at first evolve into better products than were produced by newspapers in the past.
Recent articles on the Edhat news page have shown how this new interactive journalism can work. The article about Cost Plus moving was corrected by readers and enhanced by our posting of a picture of a sign in the store window. The article about the Dog House closing was enhanced by readers lamenting the loss, and then by a reader informing the crowd that the Dog House would be relocating to State Street under a new name. Also, in response to an article yesterday about an unknown restaurant being sold, we all were quickly informed which restaurant it was, what the restaurant served, and what other restaurants were in the location previously.
Of course, Roberts concern over the lack of editing is real, particularly if experts in the audience don't contribute. And, it is possible that we didn't understand his position when we heard him speak. But, if we got it wrong, he is sure to correct us (and enhance this article).
This all leads us to today's article about the picture shown in Yesterday's Wednesday Where Is It of a Drug Deposit sign. The picture was taken by the East Side Community Center on the corner of Montecito Street and Soledad.
The box was put at that location sometime around 1991 as part of the Trash Your Stash campaign initiated by the Santa Barbara Police Department and Officer Gary Gillingham who started a company to market these boxes. There was another box near St Francis Hospital. We don't know if it's still there, but if it is, we're guessing it won't be there much longer.
Trash Your Stash has a website, but it has not been updated since 1998. On the website there are pictures of Officer Gillingham and a list of a handful of other communities where the boxes have been installed. The dedicated staff of edhat.com called the number on the website, but it was no longer in service. We also called the number listed on the box, but there was no answer and there was no machine.
The website say that, "Officer Gillingham designed a 750 pound steel drug depository and developed a cooperative system to install these depositories in communities nationwide. This invincible steel depository acts as a community service for citizens to deposit unwanted legal and illicit drugs and handguns, 24 hours a day with no police surveillance."
The dedicated staff found out little more about the box - like what happened to the Trash your Stash campaign? Where is Officer Gillingham today? Are people still putting drugs into the box? Have there been any studies on whether the boxes have helped reduce drug abuse on the East side?
Ed and the dedicated staff eagerly await your comments.
In yesterday's contest, many subscribers knew of the St Francis Hospital box, but only a select few knew of the Eastside location. Those individuals were Bargs, Kent, SBDiveMaster, Pazzo, and 2006 March Edness Champion, Brown Squared. The Edhat Dog was called in to break the tie. She was taken to the East Side location where five dog treats were placed inside the box. Using her special dog skills, she slid her way in and out of the box through the one-inch opening. When she emerged, she had Kent's treat in her mouth. Kent wins an Edhat t-shirt.
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