As one can imagine, the selection of the word “spy” on the masthead of any newspaper these days is a slightly risky proposition. Immediately, images of surveillance, espionage, and general sneakiness come to mind when the words spy and media are put together, particularly in a community that has more than its fair share of retired CIA and other strategic intelligence officers. So, we understand the Talbot Spy could quite easily mean something entirely different from the trusted, hyper-local newspaper we have aspirations to be.
Using the name “spy” for a local newspaper comes from some fairly noble roots. Beginning in Boston in 1771 with creation of the Massachusetts Spy (which many credit as being the backbone of the Revolution), independently owned spy newspapers were found in Worcester, MA; Lancaster, PA; Springfield, MA; Shell City, MN; and more locally in Chestertown in 1783.
Each one of these newspapers devoted themselves to documenting the news of its communities as well as providing a useful forum for debate. But they also captured the culture and the arts of these small villages. In Chestertown, for example, the local Spy was not only filled with local “occurrences” but also with such topics as philosophy, poetry, travel, and a bit of harmless gossip.
We believe that The Talbot Spy can carry on that tradition for Talbot County and its handful of unique villages of Easton, Oxford, and St. Michaels, in a way that plays a useful and timely role using the full power of the Internet.
While at last count, Talbot County had almost fifteen different physical news and feature publications, there have only been modest attempts to fully take advantage of the web’s almost unlimited ability to tell a story. We believe The Spy can effectively use this new technology to offer new and creative ways to inform and celebrate life on the Eastern Shore.
Our goal is to fully exploit the powerful tools that the Internet provides, such as endless capacity for multimedia, limitless links to information, and most importantly, an effective way to start and maintain serious dialogue about life, politics, and culture in this special part of the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Like all of the original Spy newspapers, our success will be highly contingent on whether or not The Talbot Spy is considered a trusted, reliable resource in the community. That kind of reputation was not immediately earned for any of our ancestors, nor will it be for this Spy. It will take time.
It is not entirely clear why the original publisher settled on the name “spy” for his newspaper. In our case, we like the definition of a spy as constantly in a state of discovery and observation. We look forward to having The Talbot Spy provide the community with our own discoveries, from our own observations, and thus continuing a local newspaper’s oldest traditions.