So, we’re three issues into this complicated learning process that we call publishing a paper. What do we know for sure? We’ve got a long way to go before we can breathe easy.
Our campaign to fund a newsweekly startup was (as far as we know) unprecedented. While Kickstarter’s journalism projects are chock full of online journals or books or special one-offs, we haven’t found other successful campaigns to start an entire newspaper—it’s not exactly the “in” thing to do these days. So Knoxville should be proud of the fact that its citizens stepped forward and made the Knoxville Mercury happen. A lot of people are feeling good about what we’ve all accomplished thus far, and for good reason. It’s special.
But the job’s not nearly done yet.
Anyone who’s even slightly cognizant of publishing trends knows that the journalism industry is in flux, particularly our branch of ink-stained wretches. Newspapers are shrinking, dying, or dead. As a result, in-depth reporting is on the decline everywhere. But we also know that such journalism makes a difference, just as it has in Knoxville.
You can help us make that difference.
Readers: Get to know the businesses that advertise on our pages. We’re a free paper, and right now we’re reliant on advertising to finance our effort. (Later, we also hope to develop memberships for readers along the lines of what NPR stations offer.) If you want to have an independent, locally owned news magazine, then please choose to support the places that are supporting us. And be sure to tell them you saw their ad and appreciate their presence in the Knoxville Mercury.
Business owners: Think about connecting with our readers. They are intelligent, diverse, and passionate about Knoxville and their own communities. It’s their active engagement with our city that has sparked its renewal. And they will support the businesses they know share their interest in Knoxville.
Advertisers: Let us know what you think about the paper as we evolve to reach even larger audiences. And be aware that we’re certainly thankful for your help in making this endeavor possible.
Since the Knoxville Mercury is a not-for-profit company, none of us are in this to become independently wealthy. We’re not here to make shareholders happy or to appease a corporate accountant 250 miles away. We’re here purely to inform and educate our community as best we can, and to create the paper we all want for Knoxville.
We’re not there yet, but we hope to be soon. Please help spread the word.
P.S.: One more way you can help out is by telling us about yourself. Take our online survey here:
Editor Coury Turczyn guided Knoxville's alt weekly, Metro Pulse, through two eras, first as managing editor (and later executive editor) from 1992 to 2000, then as editor-in-chief from 2007 to 2014. He's also worked as a Web editor at CNET, the erstwhile G4 cable network, and HGTV.
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