On December 2, 2022, the founder and owner of HopNews, Robert (Bob) Falcione, retired. We are honored to be the custodian of this amazing property and to carry his legacy forward. We wanted HopNews readers to have the opportunity to learn a little more about Bob and the history of Hopkinton’s first online news source.
Bob, when did you start HopNews, and how did you come up with the idea for it?
I started HopNews in September 2003. The Internet was still young (and so was I), and I was inspired. I’ve always loved taking photos and sharing them with others, and I’m inspired by other people’s photographs too. I had been working as a freelancer for Hopkinton Independent, the Milford Daily News, and MetroWest Daily News. The editors were always more interested in the article copy than they were the photos, and so I thought it would be neat to build a site that featured more pictures.
Did you originally want to keep it about photos? How did it expand into news coverage?
Yes, originally it was for photos. The whole point of me taking pictures was to be able to share them. But at some point I was taking more pictures and writing more articles than the papers I was working for would publish, so I had the idea that I should just publish it myself. And I sort of fell into it.
How did you differentiate HopNews from the Hopkinton Independent?
At that time the Independent was only printing, and only every two weeks. So HopNews was the first online news to serve Hopkinton.
You’ve written thousands of stories over the past 20 years. Which story are you most proud of?
That’s a really tough one. From a reporting aspect, and it’s not a happy topic, I think I had my most success with the Neil Entwistle case. It brought me to tears by the end. It was incredible to see people from all around the world logging on to HopNews, and I also had the opportunity to work alongside veteran journalists, some of whom I became friends with. Because we were here in town and had so many connections, we were the first to report that story.
You were born in Dorcester. What brought you to Hopkinton?
In 1979 I saw a room for rent advertised in Hopkinton, on Hayward Street, near Lake Maspenock. I eventually bought a home down the road from there.
What was it about Hopkinton that made you stay? What is so unique about this town?
(Laughing) Well, at the time people moved to Hopkinton because of the low taxes. But I think there is an entrepreneurial spirit in Hopkinton, and a love of the land that people have that is so unique. This town is very invested in protecting and conserving the land for future generations to enjoy and I think that’s great.
What thoughts or comments would you like to leave with our readers?
I’m so grateful to our readers for the many years of support, great feedback, and the stories they’ve shared with me over the years. I have made so many friends over the years. It has been wonderful to get to know them and to see how they live and work.