What We Do

“The fate of communities and the vitality of local news are intrinsically linked,” said a 2018* study. And yet “there are hundreds – if not thousands – of communities at risk of becoming isolated news deserts.”

StoryBoard Memphis’s mission is to connect Memphis’s authentic assets.

As a multimedia producer (online and in-print articles, podcasts and a streaming television program), our core business is to provide intimate looks into Memphis as one of the world’s centers of cultural influence and innovation. We produce in-depth, immersive and long-form feature stories on local arts, culture, history and community. We explore how Memphis history informs our present and future, and we present intimate portraits of the individuals and organizations hard at work aspiring to and seeing the city through to its possibilities. We champion the city’s authentic assets, build bridges between communities and connect past to present

StoryBoard Memphis works towards this mission through a quarterly print publication, a weekly e-newsletter, online publications, podcasts, a (in-development) streaming television show, and projects dedicated to in-depth coverage of local arts, history, and culture in partnership with arts and community organizations.

It is our vision to address the gaps in in-depth, immersive and feature-length storytelling in Memphis and connect local arts and culture to the community. We also aim to provide critical information resources to and on behalf of the community through our individual contributors as well as partnerships with other digital media platforms, area nonprofits, arts and cultural organizations and neighborhood redevelopment programs and associations.

Our January 2020 Promo, produced by Willy Bearden.

Also on StoryBoard’s YouTube channel, here: https://youtu.be/5CorQu3Ntuk

Revenue Streams Are Key

Traditional print advertising revenues are disappearing, and publications like StoryBoard Memphis must rely on a creative mix of subscriptions, sponsorships and promotions for operating revenues. Studies tell us that healthy sustainable revenues further rely on diverse information delivery – in digital formats, in print, on social media, as podcasts. 

StoryBoard Memphis is utilizing as many means as possible to cross audience sectors: as a quarterly print magazine; as a digital platform marketed by social media; through the use of local radio programming and podcasts; and in a monthly video/TV program. This multi-platform approach will connect communities to themselves and others, reaching as many households as possible, including those isolated in the news and information deserts.

We do this with a formula of stories, ideas and connections in context for our Memphis community. Stories. Ideas. Connections. Community.

*From 2016 and 2018 studies by the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Media and Journalism.

Why the name “Storyboard?”

Filmmakers use storyboards to sketch out and organize their film before going into production – before hiring actors, before hiring crew, before gathering equipment. Film production teams use these blank comic-strip-like boards to flesh out and realize scripts, to visualize on paper and bulletin boards a story that once lived only in a screenwriter’s head.

Storyboards can be as rudimentary as drawn stick-figures against barely-realized landscapes, can look like classic comic strips, or can be elaborate shot-by-shot mosaics that are works of art on their own. Storyboard rooms are not solitary affairs – they are filled with artists and their unique perspectives, applying their unique contributions.

StoryBoard Memphis does the same. But instead of producing a film we are telling Memphis’ unique story. Exploring and reimagining its past and its possible futures.

We educate and provide community communications with a minimal team of staff and volunteers each day, each week and each month from our office in Cooper-Young, Memphis, Tennessee, devoting 100% of our time and resources to deliver – via our publication StoryBoard Memphis Quarterly, our Community outreach, our Multimedia platforms – information, resources, stories and education to both healthy and disinvested communities through the generous financial support of sponsors, partners and readers. With our continued efforts we aim to fill the gaps left behind by local for-profit news sources, provide relief to isolated communities, connect diverse communities, and with increased awareness of our local authentic assets, promote the hope and excitement in all that Memphis can be as a home and a destination.