Community Conversations: Where Will The Writer’s Go?

This is a new series to highlight insights in my local community.

Local newspapers provide access to communities in a way that makes in depth connections that a regional or national newspaper may not have time to cover. For Akron, The Devil Strip (TDS) was unique in filling that role while also highlighting the area artists, creatives, and nonprofits . When I was younger I moved up and down the east coast. When I get to a new city or town the first thing I tend to look for to assess a community are its library and its community newspaper. When I came to Akron four years ago, I was sold when it was clear to see that this city poured into both investments. The demise of TDS was disappointing, but the biggest loss was the hole it created for community journalists to connect and create based on their expertise, passions, and experience. While several digital and print community media, TDS captured a diverse and inclusive picture of Akron, but shine the unique artistry of our city’s shared culture. Dara Harper, Director of Programming at ArtsNow and creator of the Akron Black Artists guild, sees the importance as knowing that someone is, “recording our story” not just major headlines, it opens us to see how Akron “shares a narrative”. The culmination of the team in place was a bright spot that shared a special place in the heart of Akron. What was more important is the position the organization was taking to provide a pathway for the everyday Akronite to submit their voice towards covered content. At the beginning of 2021, they offered training for citizens on the foundations of reporting and writing the news. The pilot program included around 25 members and many went on to publish throughout the year.

While my experience as a writer for TDS was short meeting the people behind the paper showed a dedication to a mission that was bigger than the news. It was a mission to shine a light on Akron, both the achievements and challenges. There are credible newspaper publications in the region, like the Akron Beacon Journal. Susan Zake, professor from Kent State University and former photographer for the Akron Beacon Journal, points out hyperlocal newspapers, “filled a void of the local coverage of the art, culture, and music scene” and also provided an “an aesthetic” that was unique to the area. Unlike a regional newspaper it allowed a pathway to fill both “informative and creative needs.” Now once again it seems there is a void of coverage in this area. How can a community return to filling this void in hyperlocal journalism? As Susan Zake notes, “collective voices and take submissions.”

Ken Evans, a former community journalist, shares “there is a desire to invest in it, there is a desire to have voices. The biggest thing is we have to be okay with risk in the city and run with their ideas.” The biggest desire is the power of community-based journalism to be a tool for the people and by the people. So the question is where are those tools now?

What could be shaped and formed into a viable pathway for the community to share their vision and voice?

One such place where the writer can continue to send their submission is the Serve the People newsletter. Wren, their contributor, describes as a “radical mutual aid organization founded in Akron after the protests of 2020. Their newsletter is the Revolutionary Akron Press, or RAP, for short. It is a Patreon funded paper that dives into critical topics in Akron such as the housing crisis. The newspaper speaks to the mission of the organization. RAP writer Wren says it is a “tool of accountability” that sheds light on issues that Akron needs to know. They started their paper in 2021 with the hopes to illuminate how people are struggling in Akron. Wren hopes the paper can position itself as a “shield and sword” for the city. She welcomes writers to go through the membership process and get writing! While it may be a small niche spot, writing as an Akron tool for change, will revive itself one way or the other.

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Return on Investment: Get a Professional Picture

Most of my “One More Moves” are free. Honestly, most of our beginning desires for success in life can be achieved for free. Mapping a business plan, building a network, sharing your ideas, staying productive and motivated….there are free ways to do all of these things, the investment comes when you are ready to grow.

Like all good things that come to grow, you need to invest:

  • energy,
  • time,
  • and/or money

into getting to the next phase of your mission. While you could live in the very romantic world of hopes, dreams, and ideas, you will miss out on the fulfilling experience of creating your desires into a reality.

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So what’s one small investment you can make?

Adding a professional picture to your digital profiles.

I tell you! It’s an investment I made near the end of 2016 and the changes have been real and meaningful. Here are some immediate returns on my investment in a professional photo:

  • Improved level of connections on LinkedIn: Within days of updating my profile pic, I was invited to connect by a US Senator.
  • Impress colleagues: For my new role, I did an interview, having my own professional photo instead of the standard issue one given by the university, allowed me to bring my warmth and character into my first stamp.
  • Increase confidence: When building my website and creating flyers, I feel great sharing my face and brand because I am not doing an “in-the-car selfie”. I show that I could invest in the experience needed to do the job.
  • Better lighting: Improved lighting allows for you to use your photos in a variety of situations, you can cut and paste can add it to book covers, marketing posts, and plenty of other places.

A typical professional business headshot will typically be an investment of $100-$250.


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You’re a Northeast Ohio (Akron Event) woman and a member of Empower NOW, the social enterprise group that empowers women to empower women through business development, creative connections, and resource sharing!  Get a professional headshot on March 25th for only $10 thanks to the generous donation of one of our members and the sponsorship of the Akron Microbusiness Center!



Have any tips on getting a professional headshot? Comment below!

Akron Women in Tech: One Year Grown!

I didn’t post a One More Move article yesterday because I was attending the One Year Anniversary of Akron Women in Tech! It was at the Nightlight Theater in Akron and the event went pretty well. Here’s some highlights:

The Group

I found Akron Women in Tech on MeetUp. The group hosts discussion meetings, workshops, and work meetings for women to come together learn, code, and grow. Every event I have attended (around 3) has been a great way to bond, talk latest tech trends, and just meet other women in Northeast Ohio. They’ve had 20 MeetUps so far and have definitely gained credibility quickly in the community.

Check out their online slides!

The Venue

I’ve never been to The Nightlight Cinema Theater, but I will definitely be back. The quaint venue was spacious enough for a mid-to-large group and the mix of theater seating with antique coaching helps make you feel like you’re balling enough to be in your own home theater. The Nightlight shows independent films for you Netflix scrapers and on Mondays they contribute to good community causes. Definitely worth supporting.

The People

Networking with others is a cornerstone of leadership and knowing there is a community of tech interested women in Northeast Ohio is definitely worth meeting. The discussion on crappy C- movies, latests technologies, and new tidbits like FreeCodeCamp being recognized on LinkedIN as an educator was definitely worth carting out my daughter and driving to Akron for a great celebration.

Props to Akron Women in Tech! I wish you all well with your new 501c3 status and hope you can collaborate with Limitless Ambition one day!