Welcome to the 1,000th edition of the River Cities' Reader, and thanks for picking up the printed copy you are reading now. (Depicted here at the web version of this commentary is a photo of the 1000th Reader print edition. Cover illustation by Ed Newmann.) The number of editions we would print was never a metric for achieving any milestones. Still, reaching one thousand printed issues is a gratifying moment that inspires reflection and meta contemplation!
The quick math is it has taken us nearly 29 years to print 1,000 issues. It's been a blend of weekly editions for 13-plus years, bi-weekly for 10 years and monthly for five-plus years.
Why keep up the printed product? Yes, digital media marketing crushed the print publishing/advertising industry. There are very few printed newspapers or magazines on the planet not subsidized by digital platforms or benevolent owners. When printing ink is considered contraband by authoritarian government agencies is when free speech protection is over. Printed matter's tangibility matters. As longtime Iowa publisher Jonathan Narcisse (R.I.P.) would say, “Nothing keeps an elected official or person in power responsive to questions more than a printed newspaper with their picture in it. They have no idea how many more of those issues are out there.”
The printed magazine, the printed newspaper, the tangible product that requires no WiFi or electricity to read is everyone's analog life hack. Printed books and magazines are the shield against a leviathan technocracy that assaults the citizenry's privacy and censors reality. We've been taken to task for using “mainstream media” too glibly. The more accurate term is “compromised media.” A media bought and paid for by corporate oligarchs such as Big Pharma, and taxpayer-funded government enables the regulatory capture that editor Kathleen McCarthy writes about in her column titled Battling Civic Impotence for 1,000 Issues. The old cliché is “Follow the money.” And that practice reveals the motive more often than not behind all of the crises manufactured by both the captured government agencies and their corporate global captors. This is all about laundering money.
Yes, the Reader has had both Big Pharma- and government-funded advertising in nearly every issue for the past many years. However, can you name one other local media outlet that has asked the difficult questions of our local health officials during the pandemic? Do a search for Julian Assange at any local media Web site and compare those results to those as RCReader.com/assange. Did any other media outlet even consider interviewing one of the many local activists who were on-site at the U.S. Capitol on the infamous January 6? Would any other outlet even entertain an alternate viewpoint to the official narrative? No. The fourth estate is dead and buried amidst the legacy print, television, and radio outlets in the Quad Cities. No so-called reporter or journalist can hold their head up as long as they ignore the pending doom that Assange faces for being what every journalist should be: relentlessly dedicated to transparency and holding those in authority accountable.
Thanks to the support of our loyal readers, cherished advertisers, and continued commitment from our superhuman arts editor Mike Schulz, we're excited to keep this independent publishing train going.
There's no amount of words that can express how fortunate we are to have had Mike on the Reader team since issue 19! Without Mike, it would be impossible for Kathleen and I to continue this labor of love. Thank you, Mike, for being the über-professional partner and hilarious collaborator. We love you and you help make this avocation a joy to continue.
We also must thank our son Max Allison for bringing fresh perspectives on music and for being such a phenomenal layout artist (who keeps a cool hand under pressure), ensuring the printed piece you hold looks and reads as good as it does. It's a personal privilege to be able to work with one's son and have fun doing so and we are very thankful.
One can print all the most well written stories and exciting advertising one wants … however, without distribution, one has nothing. It always comes down to distribution, no matter the medium. And on that front, we have to give a huge shout-out to our loyal and longtime paper distributors Jay Strickland and Cheri DeLay. Jay and Cheri ensure you have this copy available at more than 300 locations every month, and without their dedication and perseverance through all sorts of weather and lockdowns and more, the Reader would not flourish. We must also thank Bill Reveal, our long-time system administrator, our “dude named Ben.” Bill has kept our Web sites up and running and collaborated on so many projects that help keep the Reader efficient and manageable. We are sorry to lose Bill to his retirement and will always have great adoration for his dedication to all of our projects.
Lastly, thank you for choosing to invest time reading this publication. Please spread the word to your friends and family. And please thank the advertisers you see herein.
Here's to the next milestone!
Todd McGreevy is the River Cities' Reader publisher, and and along with editor Kathleen McCarthy, is the co-founder of the print publication that began in September, 1993.
Listen to McGreevy's guest appearances on WQUD FM 107.7 Vintage Radio and more here.