v. 13 n. 8, November/December 2011, p. 6
Republic Revamp: Towers O’ Tasks & Piles O’ Paper
by Deirdre Helfferich, beleaguered publisher
This has been a rough year for the Republic, with only eight issues produced. Between my various hats (Food Policy Wonk, Gardener, Librarian, Publisher, Reporter) it’s been a tremendously busy time for yours truly—and then I got a mysterious cold-not-quite-flu that went to my ears and knocked me out for a month, plus I broke my left wrist and had to have surgery and now physical therapy! Way too much excitement, and I am VERY far behind on the journalism biz and restructuring the Ester Republic Press. This will be, in fact, the last issue I produce until I am caught up on a) bills; b) restructuring; and c) staffing.
Let me repeat that: this is the LAST issue of the Republic until I am caught up.
After thirteen years of publishing, I’ve finally hit The Wall. The Republic will continue onward, but I’m unsure as to when that is going to be, specifically, since I don’t have the help (and health) right now that I need to do it; nor do I know yet in what form it will advance. The mext issue will be in late February or early March, or about two months from now. I will take this break to work on finding the best business model for the Ester Republic Press, one that suits its public-spirited—albeit cranky and eclectic—nature, and should be well on the way toward the new business plan by the time Volume 14 number 1 hits the newsstands. Essentially, what I’d like to be able to do is get the Republic in shape so that if I do get hit by a truck, it will continue on without me, publishing this eccentric little rag and the odd book.
Several people have done immense amounts of volunteer work over the years for the paper, but have received little recognition. These include Jackie Stormer, Lisa Sporleder, Trey Simmons, and my mother, Carla Helfferich, who have edited quantities of articles over the years, catching all kinds of things that I didn’t, and in the process teaching me how to edit better. You, the readers, have been the chief beneficiaries of their invisible assistance. Every editor needs a good editor. A few folks have acted as Emergency Paper Pile Explosive Containment Experts: Sarah Dixon, Leah Hill, Jean Lester, and most recently, Jeanne Laurencelle. Others have helped get subscriptions organized and sent out or acted as impromptu Marketing Mavens. Amy Cameron has been Advert Superwoman. And of course, the unflagging Distribution Dude, my husband, Hans Mölders, has gone far beyond the call of duty to keep my editorial posterior from becoming mowed lawn more times than I can count. There are more of you, but I have a database of 535 names and that would take up way too much space here. Rest assured, I know who you are and am grateful for what you’ve all done for the paper and the press. Thank you.
My gratitude to two people in particular is pertinent here: Sine Anahita and Kayt Sunwood are organizing a Miners Masquerade Ball and fundraiser for the Republic. I plan to enter the Ladies’ Division of the mustache contest, although it looks like I’ll be out of the running if Hannah Hill enters…
Below are the tasks I’ll be undertaking between now and then, and a list of jobs for those of you interested in participating in the paper’s reorganization.
1) Creation or adoption of community/employee-owned nonprofit news media and publishing house business model. This will include creation of a business plan (something the Republic has never had, by the way—I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants for thirteen years). This process started back in July 2011 and will hit high gear these next two months.
2) Completion of a publishing timeline and project list. Right now this includes two to four books, possibly a catalog, and the year-late fifth edition of the Local Et Cetera, as well as a regular production schedule (really!) for the Republic itself. This will also involve an editorial plan for the year. Writers, take note: I have a few investigative series I’d like to undertake. Check with me if you’d be into a little muckraking.
3) Reorganizing the office. This might require moving to a rent-free location, and it will definitely involve a lot of sweeping, dusting, and paper sorting.
4) Getting the moolah required: investors, fundraisers, and inventive ways to get community buy-in.
5) Finding a bunch of energetic, idealistic, determined, and above all, committed people to form the core of an actual staff. The first meeting in August was a start on this task, and the job descriptions (to be posted on line) will let you all know exactly what sort of positions I’m hoping to fill. These include both volunteer and paid positions. Positions at the Republic include: Advertising Adept; Editorial Assistant; Marketing Maven; Office Organizer (a.k.a. Paper Pile Explosives Containment Expert); Production Assistant; Publisher Stand-In (for vacations, insanity breaks, etc.); Research Assistant (a.k.a. Keeping the Writer/Publisher from Looking Stupid); Raker of Muck and/or Roving Reporter; Subscriptions Possee; Web Wizard. Others may appear as required.
If you are interested in keeping your local alternative independent newspaper going, and think you can help with one of the above tasks or positions, please contact me right away, at 451-0636 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More details are available on line at www.esterrepublic.com/Revamp/revamp.html, and I will be posting updates to the Ester Republic’s Facebook page and blog, http://esterrepublic.blogspot.com. Wish me luck!