The Bollard’s View

Answers to frequently asked questions about The Bollard 

At the end of this coming week, The Bollard will have been online for one month. Based on the feedback I’ve received so far, I thought I’d take this opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions…

A bollard of the nautical persuasion. (illustration/Martin Shields)
A bollard of the nautical persuasion. (illustration/Martin Shields)

What the hell’s a bollard?
Bollards are the short, stout posts on docks used to secure a boat in port with rope, sometimes by looping that rope over another bollard onboard. These bollards are generally mushroom-shaped, wider at the very top, to keep the rope from slipping off and the boat from floating away. (Note: Bollards should not be confused with “cleats,” which are little T-shaped objects that serve much the same purpose, but are not nearly as cool.) 

With the advent of the automobile, this word was also used in reference to freestanding traffic barriers of various shapes and sizes: traffic bollards. Here in Portland, these bollards surround our downtown parks and squares, and protect pedestrians at daredevil intersections like the one at Congress, Free and High streets. 

So, why call it The Bollard
The more you think about it, the more sense it makes. 

How often do you update the site?
Some parts of the site are updated more often than others. The short answer is: it depends what it is. 

For example, most movie times change weekly, on Fridays, so we update those listings and the capsule reviews that accompany them on Fridays. Music listings change nightly, so we try to change them daily, and list shows at least a week ahead. 

We post our news stories as soon as possible, and update them as they develop. Likewise, reviews are posted soon after the subject of the review debuts. 
Articles, columns, editorials, comics, reviews and feature stories/interviews remain listed on the site for at least a week’s time. After the link to this content is removed from the page, it can be found again by using our search engine. 

During The Bollard‘s first month, we’ve kept most of the content on the site for more than a week’s time, in order to give new readers a chance to see what we have to offer. In the coming weeks, content that rotates weekly or biweekly — like columns, comics and editorials – will assume this more regular schedule. 

Will there be a print version of The Bollard?
In time, Bollard Publishing plans develop a variety of print publications, including collections of work by our contributors and a periodical. Details such as when, and how often, this periodical and other projects will be published will be determined by the success of this current endeavor.

Is this supposed to be the new Casco Bay Weekly?
My experience as a former writer and editor at Portland’s original alternative newsweekly has certainly shaped my approach to journalism. But so did the year I spent after CBW working as a writer and editor for an alt-weekly in my hometown of Rochester, New York (City Newspaper), and the 15 months I spent upon my return reporting for the Portland edition of The Forecaster, a community weekly. 

Many former CBW colleagues are contributing work to The Bollard, but there are some new voices, too, and there’ll be more of both as time goes on and we add new sections and features. 

Like CBWThe Bollard is focused on covering the issues and people of Portland, Maine, and we strive to provide an insightful alternative to the mainstream press. We also reserve the right to have a good laugh. 

Also like CBWThe Bollard is beginning as a small operation based in an apartment in the West End. But unlike CBWThe Bollard will not ultimately become the property of a wealthy sailor, hand over publishing duties to the owner’s ex-wife from Alaska, fire the entire editorial staff over a budgetary disagreement, or sell out to a businessman whose idea of editorial content is printing press releases verbatim.


So, how’s it going so far?
Well, in my humble opinion, so far, so good. I hope you like what you’ve seen so far, and like I said, there’s more to come. We’re committed to constantly improving this site and offering work in other media, too. 

But you should know a few things about The Bollard and about me. This isn’t the product of a dot-com bursting with venture capital. It’s the product of an underpaid journalist and his underpaid friends, who refuse to leave town or sell out their ambitions to make the “big bucks.” I know, that sounds awfully self-righteous, and not a little foolish, but that’s the reality of the situation. Call it stubbornness, or folly, but know that this is a labor of love.

This publication stands or falls depending on you, dear reader. It works like this: We keep building our readership, other businesses recognize the value of reaching that readership through advertising, we use the money generated from this advertising to pay our contributors, their work continues to build our readership, and the cycle continues until we’ve brought the Press Herald to its knees. 

Ahem, excuse me again.

Like I was saying, your readership and support are much appreciated. We’re dedicated to keeping you as readers and hipping others to what this town has to offer. Along the way, I believe we’ll all make Portland a better place, and show the world what makes this city great. Please spread the word: Resurgam!

— Chris Busby

Chris Busby is editor and publisher of The Bollard.