With this fifth edition of The Northsider, I thought it was due time to explain how it came to be that I took on this project and how I woke up one morning and realized that I somehow became the editor of a community newspaper.
I’d love to say that running a newspaper has always been a dream of mine and that I was finally able to shout from the top of the mountains “my dream has finally come true,” but in reality, I guess you could say this paper is my unplanned love child, and regardless of its unexpectedness, I am loving, nurturing and providing guidance to its growth.
You see, Worley Rodehaver worked diligently on The Metro Northsider for some 20 years. He wrote, edited and did the layout as well as sold advertising and managed its delivery, mostly as a one-man show. In recent years, a series of illnesses prevented Worley from maintaining this workload, and in the early winter 2013, Worley reached out to the Northside Community Council for help. As a director on the council with some experience in newspaper layout, I volunteered to help Worley keep the paper going. However, it soon became evident that Worley needed to take a bow. Working so hard for so little pay for so many years had finally caught up to him. And I, the lone volunteer, was tasked with determining, whether or not the community of Northside needed/wanted a monthly newspaper and what that would look like.
Unsure of what needed to happen next, I created a plan that involved surveying the community and gathering crucial information to ascertain whether a monthly newspaper is viable. I soon discovered that, yes, the community wanted a print communication that highlighted what’s happening in our neighborhood. Before I knew it, I was meeting with a group of advisers, writing a business plan, recruiting writers, photographers and editors, and meeting with lawyers to become an official LLC. Bam- suddenly a paper was born.
The easier part of this whole project was really why I volunteered to help out in the first place, and that’s the design and layout of the paper. Oddly enough, or serendipitously, I retired from my position as Director of Education at the Homeless Coalition last April to start my own graphic design business. Little did I know that my new “flexible” schedule would afford me the time to become the parent, err, managing editor of The Northsider. In October the council voted for me and my business, Uncaged Bird Design Studio, to be responsible for overseeing the creation , layout and distribution of the newspaper.
While The Northsider was not a planned “baby” or a dream of mine, I am digging the new adventure and all the ins and outs of running a small paper. As with any new parent, I am still figuring things out and learning through trial and error how to make this baby thrive. With each issue I am making small improvements and I am always open to ideas and critques. Just bear with me as I work out the kinks- and please let me know if you want to get involved.
By Jeni Jenkins, Managing Editor