Goshen Commons: Building Social Capital

Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 8.23.00 PMLiz Core, a senior communication major from Pella, Iowa, and Ariel Ropp, a 2013 graduate double majoring in psychology and communication from Schaumburg, Ill., worked with Professor of Communication Duane Stoltzfus to evaluate the first year of publication of the Goshen Commons website.

Goshen Commons, a community news and blog site, was launched by the Goshen College Communication Department in September 2012 as an experiment in community journalism. As the name suggests, Goshen Commons is intended to be a kind of public square where residents of the greater Goshen community can gather to share news and conversation. The content blends blogs with news and feature articles.

Students provide most of the news and feature articles, in which assigned articles are published on the site. Most of the bloggers are members of the community, with or without ties to Goshen College. While the editors intend to selectively cover news stories, their numbers are small. As Goshen Commons reached its first anniversary, it seemed an appropriate time to assess the site’s content and traffic, with the ultimate goals of attracting new readers and improving readers’ experiences.