Specialty magazines, as I’ve mentioned before, appear to be a growing part of the “news” in local communities. I put news in quotes because it’s certainly not breaking news coverage of government activity or even what the nearest big-league sports team is doing. Even so, it is the latest information on things that used to be in the local small town newspaper (when they existed in print): community happenings, how everyone’s kids are doing in little league, even (as one business manager suggested) recipes from readers.
I suppose it’s inevitable that all of the specialty magazines cater to high-end individuals, like individual business owners (Realtors, salespeople). Who else has the time to read or money to advertise in a magazine? I have seen other types of publications – I guess they would be zines: just a few pages photocopied and stapled together, with handwritten content and photos too dark to see clearly. Most of that is online now. Still, it would be great if we as a society could support both… though maybe the zine end of things would consider more mainstream support as “selling out”?
Today I attended a meeting of the Grant Writers Roundtable out of Grand Rapids, where in just an hour’s speech I learned about resources I didn’t even know existed. Admittedly, a few were Grand Rapids-based, which means they’re not helpful in Kalamazoo (despite what the news stations claim, there’s no “west Michigan,” just a bunch of distinct cities).
It seems the method to landing a grant is to find a need, find a potential funder, find out what they need in an application/proposal, then submit it. I’m working to get my foot in the door with organizations that want to sit down with me. It’s going slowly but there’s a few that are willing to meet. One step at a time, I suppose…
Southwest Michigan once had a few reliable sources of news, like Channel 3 (WWMT), the Western Herald at Western Michigan University and the Kalamazoo Gazette, a newspaper I never had the opportunity to write for, unlike the first two. The rest of the news came out of Grand Rapids.
Mostly, it still does, but now we’re looking at alternative sources of information, like the Onion variant Recoil and a small but hopefully growing podcast that I’m just learning about now. Plus, of course, there’s all the specialty publications like the seniors magazine and the parents magazine. That does seem to be the future of journalism – feature pieces on individuals and businesses (and in the case of Recoil, Grand Rapids-area bands).
I’m not the first to worry about the availability of quality reporting (and opportunities to write it), but at least Kalamazoo has something to offer. Please support the local stuff – the more local the better. Grand Rapids is nice, but it’s not southwest Michigan.