For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be a journalist. Maybe it had something to do with being born during the Nixon administration, and the influence of Woodward and Bernstein. Or maybe because my childhood hero was Richie Cunningham from Happy Days and his goal was to be a news reporter. Regardless, in 1992 I got my first paying gig and I've been employed by newspapers ever since.
Up until May 15, 2018, anyway. After working 13 years at the Pittsburgh City Paper, the past four as editor, I was fired for refusing to stop writing about a homophobic, racist obstructionist elected politician. The owners of City Paper, the Butler Eagle, told me to stop writing about Metcalfe because he was a "client" of the Eagle. I refused and a week later I was fired without reason, simply told I "had to go."
To be honest, they were probably right. I had watched the paper become sanitized over the past two years. Speech at the paper was no longer as free as it once was. This isn't a problem only at CP, newspapers have been steadily moving away from content that may anger advertisers or ruin political relationships. What this episode has taught me is that I can no longer work for media companies that pretend to be independent but that actually, cater to the revenue generators, advertisers and “clients,” but, not the readers.
For years, I have been waiting around for a media company to come to this city that operates without the pressure of outside influences; a 100 percent independent media. Instead of waiting any longer, I've decided to act. Although there are new voices in the conversation, I did not see one that carried on the tradition of the old-fashioned alt-weekly: in your face and unapologetic about it." That's why I decided to launch the Pittsburgh Current.
The Pittsburgh Current will provide coverage of news, arts and politics that is completely free of outside influence. We will tell the stories that matter regardless of who they may offend, upset or anger. How can you trust it will be independent? Because I have proven that I am willing to sacrifice everything for a free press. This paper will be open to all voices and segments of our community. We will be the paper of record for those who believe that other media companies have forgotten about them. . We won't be afraid to tackle tough issues from education and politics to the LGBTQIA community and racial injustice. I will strive to make sure that the stories as well as the writers, photographers and artists in this paper represent the community that it covers.
Digital content will soon be available online at pittsburghcurrent.com. Our multimedia content will range from blogs and stories to podcasts and video. Also, since I’m a strong believer that print media is not dead, we will begin publishing monthly with our first issue hitting the streets July 11. Our goal is to publish weekly once we are financially able to do so.
I'm asking for the community's help because many people have reached out to express a desire for a truly independent news source in this city. Your contributions will help us with our upcoming web and print launch. And while some of the funds will be used for startup costs, it will also be used to pay local writers, and photographers what they are worth to create quality content.
Below I have included the core values that will govern Pittsburgh Current. Once up and running, we will implement a community advisory board to help us direct our content.
Quality, independent news coverage is vital in today’s changing political and social landscapes.
News delivery methods have changed over the years. Successful media companies of the future will provide content on a variety of media and platforms: digital, audio, video and print.
* We believe that editorial decisions must be made without the influence of advertisers.
* We believe the original structure of edgy, trend-setting, unafraid alt-weekly newspapers is the ideal editorial model.
* We believe that a complete editorial product consists of news coverage, arts and entertainment news and a strong, unflinching editorial voice.
* We believe that it is the responsibility of today’s alt-journalists to influence and train future generations of journalists so that this unique approach does not become extinct.
* Pittsburgh Current will actively seek out important stories that aren’t being told by the mainstream media.
* Pittsburgh Current will be inclusive of a wide range of readers and voices that are often left out of mainstream coverage.
* Many mainstream news sources have forsaken real investigative journalism in favor of quick hits and gotcha stories. We will conduct real, long-form investigative pieces.
* Writers will be paid a fair rate which will increase as the company grows.
Risks and challenges
Launching a new media project is never an easy endeavor. However, I believe we have gathered a diverse, passionate and experienced team that can work together to creatively overcome challenges using a combination of old-school shoe-leather reporter and new-school, innovative technologies.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)