About Bill Smith
I've been impressed, while attending public meetings around town, how many Evanstonians have been here a long time -- some even tracing their family history in Evanston back nearly a century-and-a-half.
I can't claim any records in that regard. My paternal grandparents didn't arrive here until 1920, from a tiny village in central Illinois they needed to escape as the automobile and other 20th century innovations started to destroy the economy of rural market towns.
I've also been impressed with the new arrivals in Evanston -- the people who've moved here recently to make the most of our revived downtown and all of Evanston's other amenities. Both the oldtimers and the newcomers help make our town the special place it is.
I grew up here -- born at St. Francis Hospital, attended St. Nicks and Northwestern. But I'm also a new arrival, returning to Evanston in 2005 after decades away in other parts of the country pursuing a varied career in journalism.
I was a broadcast news reporter, producer and anchor in Detroit and other cities. I taught journalism at Michigan State, Penn State and Northeastern (that's the school in Boston, not the better known one here with the similar name). And over a dozen years ago, I started working in online media, beginning with a pioneering Ziff-Davis project called Interchange that was going to crush America Online, but got crushed itself instead.
Along the way I became convinced that one of the things online media can do best is help strengthen the dialogue among residents of a community about what's happening in their town. And that's why I've decided to launch EvanstonNow.com.
As we're getting started you'll probably see way too much of me on the site, and not nearly enough of other voices. I hope you'll help correct that imbalance by joining the discussion today.
-- Bill Smith