Over the last two years, as Uptown Messenger has grown, readers from other parts of New Orleans often ask me when we’re going to expand into their neighborhoods — with those calls coming most frequently from Mid-City.
Today, I’m happy to announce that we are doing just that as I introduce MidCityMessenger.com, which will cover Mid-City crime, local government, business, schools, neighborhood groups and events.
While the idea of launching a news site in another New Orleans neighborhood similar to UptownMessenger.com has been around for a while, it gained the most urgency during Hurricane Isaac. As I walked and drove around Uptown New Orleans, trying to document which blocks had power and which businesses were reopening, many Mid-City residents sent me messages clamoring for a similar form of journalism on their streets.
Just after the storm, I received another email from Mark Tullis, administrator of LCI Workers’ Comp, one of the earliest advertisers on Uptown Messenger. Mark, a Mid-City native who moved to Uptown after Hurricane Katrina, also suggested we begin exploring a second site, again, with Mid-City in mind. Further, Tullis said that LCI would gladly become our first advertiser if we undertook such an expansion.
With such strong interest, the timing for Mid-City Messenger seemed right.Mid-City Messenger will be staffed by Marta Jewson, whom I first met at a meeting of a local charter school board that governs several schools across the city. As I walked in, the board was deferring to Marta on issues related to public notice of the meeting, and I was later impressed by the clear way her article for The Lens explained the difficult relationship between state scores and that school system’s growth. Marta began freelancing for Uptown Messenger soon afterward, covering crime, business, neighborhood groups, land-use issues and charity events, and I look forward to seeing her become a journalist representing the people of Mid-City. And as you can see from this site, Marta has already gotten to work.
As we launch Mid-City Messenger, we have extended our coverage partnership with WWL-TV. Our newsrooms keep in frequent contact, and when news happens that Marta or I cannot get to, we can rely on the WWL team to get the issue covered. Further, our affiliation with WWL often gives us access as journalists to larger state or regional entities that might be otherwise unfamiliar with our neighborhood-based news sites.
So, all the pieces are now in place — except one. Mid-City Messenger can only be successful if it has the financial support of the Mid-City community. If you own a business or are close to someone who does, please consider an advertisement. If you’re a reader excited about this new source of Mid-City news, please consider a voluntary financial subscription. Your support is especially important in these early days, as each new advertiser or subscriber will directly help determine how many articles we can afford to send Marta to cover.
For me, personally, the last two years of building Uptown Messenger have been the most exciting and rewarding endeavor I’ve ever had in my career as a journalist, and I’m thrilled now to see the concept of neighborhood-based news grow in the greatest city in the world.
As always, thank you for reading.