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600 Issues and Growing! PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Tuesday, 26 September 2006 22:47

This 600th issue marks the Reader's 14th year in publication. My husband, Todd McGreevy, and I founded this paper for several important reasons: to stimulate alternative viewpoints from those in the mainstream media; to disseminate relevant, truthful, well-researched information conveyed through intelligent writing; to expose Quad Citians to the community's vibrant arts culture populated by individuals and groups with plenty of energy and talent; to provide the area's most comprehensive calendar of events as a resource for both patrons and venues to inspire connectivity; to offer advertisers the opportunity to reach a loyal, educated, and economically active consumer group that defines our exceptional readership; and finally to provide meaningful, productive, and lucrative employment opportunities that creatively engage individuals in the vital mission of conveying need-to-know information in a collaborative environment.

We are doing something right, because we are blessed with a strong team of bright, creative, fun-loving problem-solvers who make the weekly grind of producing a newspaper a complete pleasure. The Reader staff, led by Managing Editor Jeff Ignatius (who has been with the Reader for more than half of these 600 issues), is clearly one of our biggest points of pride. This team has worked hard to get us to our 600th issue, focusing on what most benefits the readership. It is not the norm in this marketplace to focus on the reader, or viewer for that matter, as the ultimate customer, yet we have proved that our approach works in attracting a meaningful audience that advertisers successfully reach for their products and services as measured by positive results. It is a model in which everybody wins, making all the participants - readers, staff, and advertisers-a cut above the rest.

Interestingly, on a related issue, papers across the country utilizing the same format as the River Cities' Reader (alternative newsweeklies) are defying the current media trend by gaining market share and growing circulation and revenue instead of losing market share, circulation, and revenue.

The relevance of our format was best said in a recent trade newsletter. Alternative Weekly Network staffer John Morrison wrote: "At a time when traditional media is most often talked in terms of its decline, fragmentation and trivial-ness, and new media ads have major credibility issues, alt weeklies are looking more like a pillar of virtue and relevance. What more could an advertiser want?"

If it was important 14 years ago to publish a community newspaper that dedicated itself to accurate information devoid of undue influence by commercial interests, it is critical today. It almost seems surreal when you consider the methodical erosion of so many of our established policies, laws, and civil rights occurring during a time of unprecedented civic apathy. Nothing, not even the devilry of 9/11, has permeated the general public's political and civil lethargy enough to inspire a spike in voter turnout, let alone individual or collective civic engagement of some kind.

It is more confusing still when you consider that active engagement in politics, current issues, and/or events - basic civic involvement - is easier now than ever before. You don't even have to leave your house to participate meaningfully. The Internet provides countless opportunities to weigh in and influence issues etc. important to you. You can participate loudly or anonymously, as part of a group or alone, however you are most comfortable.

The Reader, in an effort to participate in emerging collaborative journalism, has launched a "wiki" at ( where the community as a whole can add, contribute to, or edit timely articles on topics of local interest. Also available is - a multimedia repository of audio and video, from press conferences to events to interviews. The goal is to bring the public closer to the news-gathering process - either through primary materials such as video or through collaborative tools such as wikis. (We are looking for videographers and photojournalists to help populate QCSPAN with relevant audio and video clips. E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you have an interest.)

As the new millennium unfolds, it is possible for the public to play a larger role than ever before - restoring "of the people, by the people, for the people." But know this: Unless the shift begins soon, the freedoms we enjoy as part of our "inalienable rights" could very well be stolen, taking our ability to participate with it.

We can start contributing to civic life together, by beginning right here with our own community. If you have an interest in joining such a collaboration, e-mail your thoughts to ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

Meanwhile, we wish to thank each one of you, whether a reader, advertiser, present or past team member, or all the above, for your part in making our 600th issue a reality. We hope you continue the ride as we take on the issues of the day together.

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