I grew up wanting to be a writer and owning a hometown newspaper, but something kept me from making that commitment and I focused on more profitable pursuits. About 15 years ago, I began a media replication business that eventually morphed into a web development business. I had lots of thoughts about the world, but never integrated them into my work. I always wrote, but it consisted of business proposals and trying to make technical stuff sound human for an industry magazine. The writing included nothing about my thoughts on anything or what kind person I wanted to be one day. The only writing that made me feel free was the annual holiday message I authored every year – it seemed to resonate with people.
Around 2005 or so, I joined the Coolidge Corner Merchants Association. It was great getting to know other independent businesses. Their triumphs and struggles became my passion. I became President soon after I joined. My first mission was to help secure commercial parking for employees of local shops, a pretty dry subject to some, but necessary for many hard working merchants and I loved the company I kept.
Around that time, with the help of our VP of web development, Catie Hayes, I launched BrooklineHub.com. Catie is our Editor. In addition to her technical background, she was editor/owner of an online magazine for women and wrote articles for multiple web sites since 1998. The first few years we wrote infrequently, mostly covering merchant issues and any non-profit that wanted exposure. When it became obvious in the summer of 2010 that the world was getting local information online, we got serious. I began writing editorials on topics that mattered to me and we brought on more writers. Now we have 6 dedicated writers, including Catie and myself as well as a staff photographer/videographer,Chris DiNunzio.
BrooklineHub.com and our web development company, Advanced Digital Websites, Inc. are humble ventures, but we are talented and do good work. ADW has provided web services for Room to Grow and the Brookline Teen Center for the last three years. We just donated a new website to the Brookline Literacy Partnership upon whose Advisory Board Catie and I serve. Thanks to the volunteers from the BLP and the Food Justice Club, both part of Roger Grande’s BHS social justice group, we are in the midst of our second annual Feed Brookline Drive to benefit the Emergency Food Pantry. Next spring, we are sponsoring the second Annual BrooklineHub.com Youth Awards at the Coolidge to benefit the BTC.
To be clear, we are not an impartial news publication. We write about what excites us and, sometimes, what infuriates us. We support local non-profits because art matters, our kids matter, helping people who are struggling matter and Karma matters. We support local independent shops because they are the last line of defense against the gentrification of our main streets. We believe we all have a responsibility to foster an environment that is good for our young people. We believe that local government, even the part of it that is run by volunteers, must live up to our highest standards of honesty, transparency and decency. We believe that mistakes are human but our aim must be true.
Gate House, AOL, or the New York Times Company do not own the Brookline Hub. I own it, and I love saying that. Before we publish an article or editorial we ask the same question, “does this information help Brookline?” We’re never going to write about a local politician’s private life or throw someone to the Internet wolves just to sell ads or build readership. We publish what we believe fits our core values. We were a socially-conscious, sustainable business even before we knew what that was.
We are also not a non-profit although the word “profit” does seem frustratingly foreign to us. So if you would like to advertise with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us. It will put a few more logs on our fire.
Thank you for reading our publication. Thanks to you, our readership keeps soaring. Whatever we are doing right, we will keep on doing it. We promise to keep improving along the way. Publishing the Brookline Hub is the first job I ever loved. For that, I am truly a lucky man.
This holiday season, from all of us at Brookline Hub and Advanced Digital Websites to all our readers, clients, and friends: Peace.
R. Harvey Bravman