I’ve been concerned for years that there is too little significant journalism dedicated to American Fork anymore, since the demise of the printed American Fork Citizen several years ago. Sure, there’s coverage of high school sports scores and anything striking or scandalous that news editors somewhere think will interest a broader audience, but that’s about it.
This isn’t good for good government (the local version), and it’s a missed opportunity to build a sense of community in a rapidly growing and diversifying city.
My friend and neighbor Danny Crivello did well to keep reporting some news at AFCitizen.com for years after the (Provo) Daily Herald swallowed our local newspaper, but one guy in a different, demanding career can only do so much for so long. (What he did, he did well, and the community owes him thanks.)
A few weeks ago, outgoing three-term American Fork City Councilor Rob Shelton, who has expressed similar concerns in the past, gave me a sneak, confidential peek at a new project he’s taking on to stay out of (in?) trouble when his city council term ends.
It’s not confidential anymore, and I can finally say this: I am delighted. Thrilled. Practically ecstatic. And grateful, come to think of it.
He has acquired AFCitizen.com from Danny Crivello and is making it a going journalistic concern. He’s pulled in some experienced journalists (meet at least some of the team here), and the first new stories went live there last week, on Friday, October 13. (I gather he’s not superstitious.)
(“Closed-circuit to” Rob S, as Paul Harvey used to say: I want to see the writers’ names on their articles.)
What’s New in American Fork
Older stories are still there too, but here’s what’s new so far. I see news and commentary about the American Fork High School Marching Band’s good win at a regional competition in Arizona, an even bigger win by the AFHS football team; the local Chick-Fil-A franchise; and two young lifeguards who saved a small child at the local swimming pool.
It’s a small start, but Rob says he has bigger plans, including coverage of the current election. He even told me he’d like to revive a printed newspaper someday, if it becomes feasible.
His and his staff’s success in this venture will be the community’s success, and we can all help. Here are some ideas:
- Bookmark the site and visit every week or two, at least.
- When the opportunity to subscribe and receive new stories (or a weekly bulletin) by e-mail presents itself, as I hope it will soon, be sure to subscribe.
- Share stories with friends and neighbors.
- Comment on stories — in a civil and relevant manner, of course. Why should our local paper’s comment sections become the dumpster fire we see at the two major newspapers serving the metropolis just to our north?
- If you have local advertising dollars, consider spending some at the American Fork Citizen.
- If you write or want to write and have something to say locally, contribute a news article or op/ed. I plan to.
Here’s a good starting point: read the brief history of the American Fork Citizen at the site’s About page.
When you have a few minutes, read Danny Crivello’s longer history of journalism in American Fork. The history only gets us to 1934, so there’s no mention of the late, extraordinary Barbara Christiansen, who reported on American Fork for decades, including most of my 25 years in American Fork. And there’s no mention of Danny Crivello, who is very much alive, except as the author of the piece. But both deserve to be remembered, thanked, and admired in 2023.
I wasn’t exaggerating when I wrote the title of this post. This is the happiest American Fork news I’ve heard in a while.