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Taking a New Direction In Journalism

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Taking a New Direction

Good morning, NUVO Reader,

I’m sorry to report that our last print issue dropped on Feb. 27. Our staff has been struggling these past months valiantly to stave off the inevitable. Fortunately, we were able to give those primarily involved in print plenty of advanced warning that the print operations were becoming too difficult to continue to support.

While those of us who love print will mourn its passing, there is a silver lining. Print and advertising took up 75 percent of our time and focus. Now we can take the precious resources that were applied to print and advertising, and focus all of our energies on reinventing journalism online.

And it does need to be reinvented. It is dying, and many of those wounds are being self-inflicted. We want to start a movement, with you at the center. Here is how:

I gifted our brand and our assets to the nonprofit NUVO Cultural Foundation which already has 501(c)(3) status. This allows for tax deductible contributions, and also allows NUVO to accept grant money.  Becoming a nonprofit aligns with our mission of making journalism more trusted again and useful in solving the problems that you think are most important. We are now accountable to the community, which means you, and have a structure better designed for a mission-driven organization that desires to be transparent.

We will optimize for trust by being radically transparent about our writers’ biases, our processes, our motivations, and our financials as a means of providing you context.

We will be membership-driven so that our interests are closely aligned with your interests. There is also an option to donate any amount you would like to the cause, which is also tax-deductible.

We will use the power of the internet to listen to you and to empower you through the use of your First Amendment rights in combination with ours.

We will become writer-focused. We will retire the gatekeeper model of journalism. We will select writers based upon their expertise in articulation (speech and written), research, verification, listening skills, and as conversation leaders online and at live events. We will choose writers based on their passion; our writers will be transparent about their biases and they will encourage you to have direct access to them. We will ask them to show their work so you can follow the train of their discovery. We will ask our writers to spend half of their time listening and in conversation with you. We will not scapegoat or resort to name-calling. We will move away from the hourly news cycle as we look more deeply into the systems and patterns in society that you feel need to be improved. Our writers will be asked to look for solutions. You will help identify solutions. And, with your expertise, assist in the articulation.

We will look for writers who can speak with insight and passion from diverse viewpoints.

We believe community means conversation and this quote from Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King Jr., from Oct. 15, 1962 is a measure of accountability that we would be honored to try to achieve:

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.”

As we become increasingly polarized, do you think civic engagement is important? Will you add to our movement to make journalism effective again to your list of things you support? Will you help us pay for this journalism rather than have us rely on advertisers who can influence our work? By becoming a member, you will get access to our writers through our commenting system, the ability to follow them and to receive their personal newsletters.   You will receive early access to some stories and to events we organize.

Fortunately, our writers Rob Burgess, Dan Grossman, and Seth Johnson have already started down this path.

Rob, grounded in reporting, has a passion for news and politics, and he has taken the lead on expanding our conversational expertise. He has been intimately involved with the listening tools we have already established, like Hearken, and has already produced several stories with your input, including the voters guide.

Seth has been overwhelmed by the interest in participating in a discussion about the future of music in Indianapolis.

Dan has been equally pleased by the feedback he is experiencing around placemaking and gentrification.

Please become a member and support their work directly.

The inside team will be Ian McPhee, who will handle all of the technical issues associated with making your experience as productive as possible, and Charlie Clark, our designer, who will have a similar role on the design side.

Kathy Flahavin, our business manager who has been with us for almost 20 years will continue to watch what we spend like a hawk.

I started NUVO with a desire to empower you and enhance our shared community life by shining a light on the good, and the not so good, through the art of storytelling.

But, the past 29 years was limited to being mostly a one-way communication. With your help, we can do this together.


Kevin McKinney, NUVO editor and publisher

Editor & Publisher

Founder of NUVO, a new voice for Indy, and first executive director of the non-profit, My purpose is to increase civic participation through informed storytelling and the search for common ground through dialogue.