I am a “lead writer,” whatever that means, for a new web publication, The Daily Nutmeg. The site’s founder is Mike Mims, former publisher of Connecticut Magazine. Mims’ sons Dan and Jeremy are actively involved with the look and style of Daily Nutmeg. The other main writer is Todd Lyon, a former New Haven Advocate colleague of mine and of course the former food columnist for the New Haven Register. I’m thrilled to be a part of this new endeavor. It’s slick, it’s legit, it’s found a niche, and I get to write about stuff I dig in New Haven. What’s not to love?
The site has been up since December, and articles I did on It’s a Wonderful Life at Long Wharf Theatre and the Library Science exhibit at Artspace have already appeared on it.
But in terms of its most provocative element, Daily Nutmeg properly launched just last week. Its main distinction is a daily e-mail feature about New Haven culture, sent directly to those who’ve signed up for a free subscription. The stories land on the main site as well, but there’s a neat novelty is getting a well-packaged local preview or profile in your in-box every day.
Today’s the first e-mail feature with my byline on it—the first of a weekly rundown of things to see and do in New Haven. As the writer of “Critic’s Picks” and “Highlights” sections in print newspapers for decades, I found I’d actually missed that discipline once I turned to a freelance existence a few years ago. It’s refreshing to be flipping through club schedules and college calendars again.
For me, this is a wonderful opportunity to get back into writing positivist stories set in the cultural capital of Connecticut.
My theater reviews and personality-based op-ed columns got more attention, naturally, but the bulk of what I did for a combined 20 years at the New Haven Advocate and the old (late-‘80s, print format) New Haven Independent was upbeat previews of worthwhile local events, or profiles of people and institutions in the community.
There’s no lack of opinions on the web, but it’s hard to find culture features of the sort that once filled whole sections of the local dailies and alt-weeklies. Some sniff at that stuff and don’t miss it, but as someone who’s done it for decades, I think it’s hard to do properly. A preview article is not propaganda, and it’s not advertorial. It’s there to answer questions about a thing or event that deserves your attention, and understanding. If connections aren’t made with the community, that thing might soon vanish. I always found explaining cultural phenomena to potential partakers to be a high calling. Thanks to Daily Nutmeg, I’m doing it on a regular basis again.