Author’s Note: The Flensburg Files and the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles are both undergoing some massive consolidation and reconstruction efforts due to the planned shutdown of its areavoices platform effective 15 May. This includes transferring old articles and tour guides onto the wordpress websites and opening a new platform for readers having been forced to follow both blogs through a new platform. Do not be surprised to see old articles popping up during the next 2-4 weeks as this project commences. We apologise for any inconveniences in this matter. Details on why this is happening are found below.
The Flensburg Files and The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles’ AreaVoices websites to permanently shut down on May 15th, 2018. Their wordpress pages will remain open. Restructuring to commence immediately
Dear fellow readers, followers, fans, family and friends,
For the past eight years, I have had the privilege to provide you with some stories, history, facts and cultural aspects for you to mull over and discuss, let alone share with others. I have also had an opportunity to meet many of you, both online as well as in person, learning new things and bettering myself and my two blogs. The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles and the Flensburg Files were launched almost simultaneously in October 2010. The Chronicles focused on historic bridges, providing people with a tour of regions laden with them and tips on how to preserve them for years to come. The Files focused on German-American culture and current events from the author’s perspective with a small pocket of stories originating from the northernmost region in Germany, where my heritage comes from and where I spent lots of time up there. It took the likes of Kari Lucin, Tracy Briggs-Jensen, Todd Wilson, Tony Dillon, James Baughn and others like you to get the blogs launched (although I do say they are online-columns because they are homemade and served with a little food for thought). Despite having websites on historic bridges, the Chronicles was the first blog to be introduced that solely focused on historic bridges. The Files was one of the first for German-American culture. A lot of success has been raked up in the almost eight years in the blogging business.
Sadly though, I received word from the mother firm, Forum Communications, based in Fargo (USA) that the AreaVoices platform will shut down completely, effective 15th May 2018. And with that, the Files and the Chronicles will also cease on AreaVoices websites. The reason for their decision was the plan to create public-face media and a new CMS format, which means all the energies will be focused away from AV and onto the newer form of media. More information can be found here in their news story. The shut down is as painful as the giant retailers BonTon and Toys R Us shuttering their doors and with that, all their subsidiaries, like Herberger’s, Younker’s and Carson’s. However, not everything is as bad as it seems.
The good news is that both the Files and the Chronicles will still have their wordpress websites, at least. They were launched in 2015 to expand to a wider audience outside the United States. They will continue to operate as is. The same applies to their facebook pages, twitter accounts, the Files’ tumblr website and the Chronicles’ Instagram page. For those who are subscribed to the AreaVoices pages of one of the two or both, you should switch platforms immediately and subscribe to the sites that will remain in operation. The pages are below:
The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles: https://bridgehunterschronicles.wordpress.com/
The Flensburg Files: https://flensburgerfiles.wordpress.com/
Yet what will happen next? Because of the announcement of the shutdown, the first order of business is to save all the work that has been written since 2010- which is a good 800 or so- and transfer them all to the wordpress sites, as well as another blog platform. This ranges from bridge tours and Christmas markets to interviews and fast facts; genres to history, cultural themes to current events. Some of the articles that are deemed redundant will be deleted. This work of sorting and transferring will probably take the longest and be the most intensive, but it is expected to be completed before 15 May. Because of this, both wordpress sites will need to be restructured so that the categories are easier to see and the articles are accessible to all.
An additional blog platform for both will be sought after and established to provide better coverage. While AreaVoices provided some of the best platforms available, my intention is to look at all options, including newspapers that also allow for blogs to be open, as it was the case with the Forum newspapers with AV. While it may be possible to work together with Forum regarding the new program they are putting together, other newspapers, both in the States and abroad are being considered for a joint venture, including the Free Press in Chemnitz, with whom the Chronicles has work together on several bridge articles. Also the Flensborg Avis on the Danish end of Flensburg may be considered. Furthermore, a photo platform to replace the flickr page will be added to ensure that all photos taken will be posted there. The current flickr page, which I can no longer access because of an expired yahoo account will remain and accessed but as an archived website.
So the end of AreaVoices is also the beginning of a revolution that will usher in the newest generation of 3.0 technology with blogging. While AV is riding off into the sunset soon, the articles will be saved and stored accordingly, and newer technology will mean better coverage and new topics that will be published more quickly and discussed by many, be it bridges, German-American themes or other items. I hope you understand the situation and that you still can continue to follow both blogs. Just please understand that after 15 May, AreaVoices will be a memory, but the two blogs will live on in a different form. To the crew at Forum Communications and AreaVoices, I offer my thanks for the cooperation we had for the eight years we had together and in case we part, I wish you all the best and Godspeed.
Because of the reconstruction process, no new articles will be posted until the project is completed. This could take between two and six weeks to complete. For both wordpress sites, older articles from the AV sites will be added to ensure they are not lost. But they will be categorized so that you can access them. If you see articles from the past you will know why. It will be business as usual for the other social network sites, meaning articles from external sources will continue to be posted, as well as photos taken by the author.
You will be notified once the project is finished with a new feature article of what has been done with the Files and Chronicles. In the meantime, please be patient. There’s a lot of work to do.