A Little Help from Our Friends

As the Local reaches into nearby neighborhoods, a community Advisory Board keeps our message on track.

Our little publication has undergone significant changes since switching to non-profit status thru CultureWorks of Greater Philadelphia last November. With all our content plus forums, events, and grant efforts, we could use almost constant feedback. For the most part, too, we’ve been breaking new ground – and learning by doing can be overwhelming when so much needs to be done.

Plus, a community paper like The Local can only grow better with more input from different demos: people who’ve lived here forever, newbies, business owners, college kids… Whoever feels they have a stake in our neighborhood, should feel welcome in our pages. CultureWorks recommended we pull together an “Advisory Board” to help guide us as we grow.

We could not have asked for better peeps to come forward and help steer The Local! The roll call from our first meeting included a great mix of trusted friends with all kinds of smarts and experience to share. We started off with a review of a recent Assessment and Development Plan we’d received from a non-profit consulting firm. But really, everyone wanted to talk about our image.

Were we too editorial? Not editorial enough? How could we discuss conflict in the neighborhood without alienating people? Should we even try? These questions led us to some strong opinions, and highlighted how much we’ve changed over the four years we’ve been publishing The Local.

When we started, it was just us: Steve and Carolyn Fillmore, running the whole operation. Steve mostly handled the business end, and I did almost all the writing and photos. Our coverage was about voice, and we only had one voice – which was thoroughly inexperienced– so… Yeah. No small wonder that even today people “hear” that voice in a piece, and it kind of triggers them.

But these days, The Local is so much more! Dozens of contributors: beer reviewshumor, history, fiction, memoirs, profiles – even a Pizza Ninja. We’re still all about voice, but now we’ve got a whole gamut of speakers. With room for more!

At the suggestion of our Advisory Board, we’ve clarified our “hypervocal” mission in The Local’s masthead. We’re about point-of-view, not traditional journalism. Instead of telling both sides in one story, we’d rather print separate stories from both sides and let our readers decide where they stand.

We’ve also added 8 pages to every month’s Local, open to all! We’ll take general announcements, editorials, vacation photos, cartoons, poems – we’ll print virtually anything (within generous guidelines). Get in here! Be careful, though: seeing your name in print can get addictive, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

If content’s not your bag, we’re also seeking advisors to help us decide what to print and promote to the community. Meetings are optional and extremely casual. Sometimes there’s cake!

To get on board — or get your stuff into the Fallser Pages – email editor@eastfallslocal.com for info & guidelines. Pick up The Local free every month at dozens of shops, restaurants, and other locations around the area, or contact us for home delivery.

Big thanks to our readers for helping us grow into the colorful, celebratory, and occasionally challenging publication we are today. Here’s to free and wildly independent press for East Falls and nearby neighborhoods.

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