STORIES. IDEAS. CONNECTIONS. COMMUNITY
“The fate of communities and the vitality of local news are intrinsically linked,” and yet “there are hundreds – if not thousands – of communities at risk of becoming isolated news deserts.”~From 2016 and 2018 studies by the University of North Carolina’s Hussman School of Media and Journalism
When I first took StoryBoard to print in September of 2018, I knew this journey would not be easy. I also knew that it would take a village, as the saying goes, and a host of sponsors, subscribers and contributors willing to give dollars or sweat to make this community paper come to life month to month.
Each and every person who has spent hours at a keyboard, combed through sentence after sentence or toiled in layout work (while the rest of the house slept) has made a critical difference. All of them have worked as volunteers or for minimal pay to bring this paper to readers.
Others, our sponsors, have generously written us a few checks over the last 17 months in exchange for ads, for page space, or to just make financial contributions toward printing and distribution costs and the other miscellaneous expenses associated with any small business. Their logos can be seen below, and their support cannot be overstated – every penny they gave us has gone solely into the production of the paper.
They are all to be thanked. For none of this can happen without their help.
And to you subscribers, I thank you as well for continuing to pledge your financial support and in exchange for the delivery of the paper. In 2019 we saw our subscribers more than double.
And what a year it’s been!
Across 8 print issues since last December, we published on themes from city history and planning to the generational struggles in shared and equitable prosperity. We reached up to 40,000 Memphians in print and another 35,000 visitors to our website.
We built new partnerships with the University of Memphis, Cooper-Young’s Lamplighter and local writers to add to our roster of contributors that already included High Ground News, Memphis Heritage Keystone, Epicenter, Creme de Memph, Smart City Memphis.
We were the exclusive print home to the Newman to Now series that shared the historic Memphis photographs of Don Newman. We published original histories for Idlewild Presbyterian Church, the Clayborn Temple, and the Universal Life Building.
And thanks to WYPL Broadcast Manager Tommy Warren, in March we launched StoryBoard 30, in partnership with the Memphis Library and FM 89.3, and produced 38 episodes, talked with 50 Memphis leaders, and heard hundreds of stories.
In 2020 we will be offering even more, with another bold transition to the world of not-for-profit publications, our board of directors have in store more community outreach and panel discussions, more stories, wider distribution of the paper, and more diverse programming to compliment print and podcast. We have only just begun.
“Ironically, while paid print publications decline, more and more readers are turning to free papers for news and information … because they are free.”~Berl Schwartz, the editor and publisher of the free City Pulse in Lansing, Michigan
Bringing a print publication into today’s market has been no small undertaking, where we compete with FaceBook and Instagram and online news services. Delivering a new concept to the public has been equally challenging, bringing together multiple voices and organizations into the paper each issue. But we sense that folks are starting to get it, realizing that maybe there is a way to bring the community together into one space, to provide a forum for diverse stories, a place to share ideas, and a place to make connections, in print and online.
Stories. Ideas. Connections. Community.
It’s who we are. With your help, let’s keep this thing going. Become a StoryBoard sponsor today!
Happy Holidays and Cheers to 2020!
~Mark Fleischer, Publisher