After 20 years of community journalism, the Northside News runs smoothly. I fidgeted anxiously as my first publishing deadline as managing editor of the paper approached. Abha reassured me: the articles always come in, the pages fill and, thanks to the contributions of an entire community, the paper practically runs itself. This issue, with our submissions manager supreme, Rita Lord, absent for a week, I was reminded of all the work that happens behind-the-scenes: the work of an entire community.
When we dig into the Northside News and exfoliate past the smoothness of the final editions that reach mailboxes and websites, we see the efforts of volunteer writers reporting on what happens in their communities. We hear dinner-table conversations. We notice questions and curiosities. We see the Northside reflected in their journalism.
The new Many Voices Initiative is our commitment to supporting community voices and working to better reflect — in each of our issues — the incredible diversity of experiences that make up the Northside.
What is it like for children preparing for kindergarten at Kennedy Heights Community Center? Or for a goal-setting student at the Vera Court Neighborhood Center aiming for straight As, tallying the number of books they read each week and watching their neighborhood center set and achieve its own goals? What would we learn about the Northside from the perspective of someone living in a nearby group home or apartment building run by Goodwill Industries? Who was a part of the crew that installed the solar panels atop the Warner Park Community Recreation Center and what was it like working on the Northside? These are the people whose stories vein each section of the paper but whose voices we rarely let lead the way.
Like the FEED Kitchens businesses whose success often roots from countless hours of dishwashing, line and prep cooking, work so rarely seen by appreciative customers, the final editions of the Northside News owe their flavors to voices often unnamed. The Many Voices Initiative is our promise to turn our ear to these voices and our promise to hand over the microphone.
This issue, in other ways, is about the tension between different voices and what can grow in that space. We hear the story of a feud between neighbors — beavers and Northsiders — not yet resolved. We have other stories of native and invasive species battling over yard space and parks. We have stories of innovative solutions to the clashes between people and the landscapes that surround them.
In this issue, we celebrate the work of Northsiders like Darlene Horner, whose dedication to enacting their visions for their communities ripples outward and grows through neighborhoods, one neighbor at a time.
As we launch the Many Voices Initiative, I invite you to our next Northside News team meeting. Join our talented team of writers, whose dedication keeps the paper moving forward, around the table to share questions and ideas. No experience is needed to send in your stories and see them in the News. Visit facebook.com/thenorthsidenews for information about the next Northside News meeting.
We will keep you updated as we develop the specific programs and activities of the Many Voices Initiative. If you have thoughts on how the Northside News can better share diverse voices, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 204-7015.
Many thanks to the community that makes this paper possible.