Sonya Jongsma Knauss
It is delightful to be part of an environment where not just one but three new monthlies make an appearance within a few months. But I hear it can be hard on local advertisers. So what makes this publication worth supporting? What makes the Riverwest Currents distinct and unique? That’s the question I’ve been thinking about this past month, and it’s one with several answers. As one of three publications that sprang out of Riverwest early this year, the Riverwest Currents has a well-defined niche. Its focus is firstly on the Riverwest neighborhood and issues and events important to the diverse people who make up our readership. White, Latino, Black, low and middle income, anarchist and businesswoman, yuppie and hippie — we have something for everyone. In fact, this month we launch an entire page devoted to the Latino community, with articles in English and Spanish. Our housing page continues to feature Spanish translations, thanks to our grant from Housing Opportunities Made Equal.
What makes this publication worth supporting?
What makes the Riverwest Currents distinct and unique?
Another thing I think is very important about this publication is that it’s a paper not first and foremost focused on consumption — whether it be of disposable good, arts, entertainment, etc. It’s a newspaper that aims high: to celebrate the diversity of this area of the city, and to help unify a neighborhood made up of very different peoples. It’s exciting to be part of a resurgence in local media options. That many options exist is the good news, and it’s a trend that has been seen across the nation. The bad news is that most of them fold within a year or two because they’re unable to support themselves. In the days of huge media conglomerates like AOL Time Warner, this sudden plethora of independent news options — Riverwest Currents, Vital Source, The Press, Shepherd Express — may seem to be bucking national trends. As people who study and observe such things know, competition among newspapers has increasingly become a thing of the past. National, state, and local-level newspapers have become conglomerates… the days of the several-newspaper city seem almost gone. It’s hard to find a city left these days with more than one daily, and that’s because newspapers have become more like businesses, focused firstly on making money. This necessitates mergers — after all, it’s easy to corner the market on advertising when you’re the only show in town. And it can be hard for small businesses to support every publication a city has to offer. To this end, Riverwest Currents is incorporating into a non-profit. This will allow us to pursue our mission, enable us to receive direct grants from foundations and other granting agencies, and allow us to receive tax-deductible donations from those who deem our cause worthy. Our intention is not to get rich; it is simply to promote the people, places, and things in this neighborhood. In addition to increasing our size and adding color, we are also expanding our neighborhood coverage this month. With increased distribution at locations west of Holton and East of the River, and with 2,000 papers delivered to the door of various portions of the Riverwest neighborhood each month, we hope to expand our availability to readers, to offer our advertisers better exposure, and to act as a bridge between several neighborhoods and various ethnic groups in our part of the city. I hope you enjoy reading the paper as much as we enjoy putting it together. Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 7 – August 2002
Sonya Jongsma Knauss