About this project
Thanks to all our wonderful backers, we've broken our goal in less than 10 days! You're incredible.
Let's keep that going: Our reach goal is $30,000. We'll use that money to pay our writers even better and fund our operations into 2016. Every dollar you pledge will be spent publishing the best Southern journalism. And every subscription is another voice in the conversation.
So join us. Help us pay our writers well, build a vibrant readership, and fund Scalawag deep into 2016.
What we’re about
Scalawag is a new magazine and website focused on the American South. We're dedicated to real stories, good ideas, and the hard work of building a freer and more just future for our region.
Four times a year, we’ll publish a beautiful print magazine filled with top-notch writing: long-form journalism, incisive commentary, and personal stories. In between issues, we’ll publish more great content online and host events to continue these conversations in person. We’ll examine and celebrate Southern ways of living together—personal and political. And unlike many publications, we won’t shy away from hard truths and controversy.
We’re printing our first issue at the end of this month, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you. We had reporters on the front lines of protests in Atlanta, overturning archives to uncover the legacy of Jim Crow in North Carolina, and tracking down an elusive folk artist in New Orleans. Our contributors have collectively written a dozen books, and have been published everywhere from academic journals to The New York Times and The Atlantic.
Your Kickstarter pledge will get Scalawag going, and help us run the magazine for this full year: four issues, online content, and soon events in communities around the South. We won’t stop there. Right now, we need your backing to get going.
Where we’re coming from
The fact is, there’s a shortage of good journalism in the South. Local newspapers are drying up, and Northern media can’t fill the gap. We're also short on thoughtful commentary, and on forthright civic conversation. These shortages couldn’t come at a worse time. There’s been a lot of hard news down South lately: too many children going hungry, too many folks out of a job, too many sick and too many in need. But there’s also hope and excitement. People across the across the region are doing incredible work to shape the futures of their communities.
Amidst all of this, we need a way to know what’s going on, and a community in which to discuss it. That’s why we’re building Scalawag.
Scalawag will publish the South’s most necessary journalism, its very best ideas, and its most important stories. We’ll talk about the South without resorting to stereotypes. We’ll export good writing and sometimes import foreign perspectives. We’ll look for new ways of understanding the South in the fullness of its diversity and complexity. And we'll search for a full sense of what it is to be Southern in the twenty-first century.
We're laying out our first issue now, and already have pieces lined up for our second (and for the website). Our contributors are already working on all kinds of important stories – about lives of homeless men in a fast-growing city, good ideas on immigration in Mississippi, and queer communities across the rural South. We' want to approach the familiar and the new with an open heart as we listen and share the stories that are shaping the South.
Who we are
We’re a team of young Southerners – from Virginia down to the Mississippi Delta – with a carpetbagger thrown in for good measure. Among us we’ve got important experience: teaching writing and journalism, leading state-wide field operations for the Obama campaign, consulting for the United Nations and top CEOs—even winning a Rhodes Scholarship.
We know we have a lot left to learn. That’s why we’re so glad to have a community of advisors at our back. At the center of this community is our Board of Advisors, full of experienced writers and journalists, like Alec MacGillis, Taylor Branch, Anne Fadiman, and Bill Chafe. They’ve won a stunning number of awards—including two Pulitzer prizes.
Of course lots of folks can recite nice resumes. So what’s more important is that our team shares a commitment to the future of the South, and to the conversations and communities that will shape that future. We care about the folks who share our homes here. And we’re genuinely curious about the questions Scalawag will ask and answer.
Why we’re Kickstarting
The money you pledge on Kickstarter will jump start Scalawag’s first year. It’ll take Scalawag from a project in our kitchens to something real—it’ll let us pay our writers fairly, print our magazine, build out our website, and cover the costs of serious journalism. More than all that, your pledge will also be an investment in the magazine’s future. Scalawag may be a non-profit, but we don’t intend to rely on outside help forever. So we’ve built a real business model, and we intend to become sustainable within three years. Like y’all, Scalawag will be in this for the long haul.
What you’ll get
We’re most excited to (finally) be offering subscriptions to Scalawag’s first and second years. But pick your fancy: You can also get our signature cocktail recipe, a mason jar for drinking it, a limited-edition print of our first cover, or even a lifetime subscription.
Something else you want to know?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We'd be happy to hear from you.
Risks and challenges
We don’t want to pretend this will all be easy. Here’re three of the biggest challenges we face, and what we’re doing about them.
• We’re piloting an unconventional model in an uncertain time. The market for media is undergoing a generational shift. So we’ve focused on developing a real path to sustainability: keeping our operating costs low, and building a base of committed subscribers. Moreover, our 501c(3) status means we’ll never have to compromise our mission to stay in print.
• We need to build awareness to succeed. Scalawag has to reach readers, and these days people’s attention can be hard to come by. So we’ve been pushing to spread our message, testing the idea with hundreds of influential Southerners, and developing a comprehensive marketing plan.
• We need to attract top-notch contributors. Real journalism takes real talent. That’s why we're working nonstop to source pieces from some of the best journalists in the country. Our success to date gives us confidence we can succeed.
Above all, we’re committed to this project for the long haul. We know the path forward isn't simple. But we'll continue to ask the questions the South most needs discussed. We can get only get started with your backing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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