A lot has changed since I wrote my first NUVO cover story way back in December 2004.
I’ve changed, certainly, and so has NUVO. I’m older, the team is smaller, and journalism as we knew it 14 years ago barely exists.
Hundreds of print newspapers and magazines have folded or moved to all digital, including a good number of alt-weeklies. Newspapers continue to fold every day and those that haven’t are taking drastic measures just to stay afloat. The Village Voice is gone; so is the LA Weekly. Just last week, one of the remaining alt-week icons, the East Bay Express, laid off its entire editorial team and transitioned to an all freelance model in order to cut costs.
Closer to home, our stalwart daily, The Indianapolis Star, is the target of a hedge-fund group known for buying up and then dismantling struggling newspapers. They’ve offered the Star’s parent company Gannett $12 per share (roughly $1.36 billion) for all its publications including the Star and USA Today.
NUVO has always been an independent and locally owned publication, and our “agendas,” if and when they exist, have always been fairly transparent. But the importance of transparency is much more a priority than ever in journalism.
To that end, we’re laying bare our editorial agenda in our main areas of coverage for the upcoming year. Our news, arts, and music editors have each penned a detailed outline of the stories they want to pursue this year and the reasons behind those choices. I hope you’ll take a look and give us your feedback.
As we lay out the ideas we have for coverage, we are also asking for reader involvement and input from the very beginning. That’s another thing that’s changed about journalism, at least the way we plan on doing it more and more moving forward.
Rather than waiting until a story is finished to invite the reader into the process, we want you to speak up now. We are actively soliciting your input for the type of journalism you want NUVO to produce this year.
We want your input in identifying stories, issues, topics, and problems relevant to Indianapolis readers, and we want you to help shape our priorities: What would you like to see us cover? What are you curious about when it comes to Indianapolis? What type of stories do think we should devote our resources to? What recent stories would you like us to dig deeper or follow up on?
On our homepage and article pages, you’ll see a place to submit your questions, suggestions, and input regarding our coverage. If you visit the City Committee page, you’ll find a list of those submissions and a way to vote for the stories you think would be most valuable. As we gather the feedback, we will shape story pitches based on reader suggestions and allow everyone to decide which stories we pursue and see through to publication.
We want your input beyond the suggestion box as well. By keeping an eye on the stories we are working on, the ones that will be listed on the City Committee page, you’ll have an opportunity to reach out to the writer eventually assigned to the piece and contribute to the storytelling process. Do you have experience or expertise you’d like to lend to the investigative process? Do you want to help gather information, compile data, or even copy edit a particular piece you’re interested in? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
In order to cultivate a more interactive relationship with our readers, we’ve developed a membership program that allows for maximum participation and interaction with editors, other writers, and our entire editorial process.
In the very near future, you will need to be a member in order participate in the process I’m describing. You’ll need a NUVO membership to contribute story ideas, vote on what stories we pursue, and participate in discussions about editorial content and priorities.
That same membership will get also get you special newsletters, invitations to members-only events, and opportunities to win members-only tickets and swag.
Membership fees are on a sliding scale, you pay what you can. But we are relying more heavily on member financial support, and in 2019, 100 percent of membership donations will go towards NUVO’s editorial budget and direct storytelling costs.
If you value local journalism, if you value the type of journalism NUVO has brought to Indianapolis over the past three decades, we hope you will join us in 2019. Now, more than ever, we need you to help shape and support our local coverage.
In 2019, we want you to be a part of the stories we tell. Become a member, lend your ideas, your expertise, and your support. Let’s work together this year to reinvent local journalism.