Note: Please see these related intro posts for information about the Times, what we’re doing and why:
Part I: A note from the founder
Part II: Why John Brown?
Part III: Frequently asked questions
At just short of four weeks, launching The Lawrence Times took way longer than I expected. That’s because I initially envisioned becoming a one-woman newsroom, continuing to report the news from my bedroom without missing a day when my employment at my last job came to an end.
I announced on Tuesday, Feb. 9, that the Times was coming soon, and the people of this town immediately flooded me with messages of support. I also heard cries of relief from so many people who have wanted this for so long.
So “I” quickly became “we,” even though I wasn’t quite sure who “we” included yet, and I found myself launching a news publication — still tiny, but now with a strong motivation to make it sustainable. This is a leap of faith taken out of love for this community, coupled with a desire to pursue all the stories I want to write and to help other journalists do the same.
The incredible financial support this community has provided has also made me believe that not only is it possible to start this, but we can actually sustain it. In less than a week, an online fundraiser to help launch the Times tripled its initial goal of $3,000. That made it possible to bring my talented and diligent colleague, Conner Mitchell, aboard last week.
It wasn’t until Sunday as I wrote this that I realized that we are launching our news coverage on International Women’s Day, but that is fitting. I never would have had the courage to do any of this without the influence of amazingly strong and powerful women building me up. To those of you who know I’m talking about you, and to those who don’t: I thank you, I celebrate you, and I hope that someday I can return the favor.
Now, here we are, about to launch the Times. Are we 100% ready? Do we have everything in place that I’d like, knowing what we’re getting ourselves into? Nope. But our top priority is and always will be getting the news to the people who need it, and there has already been a lot of news that we haven’t been able to report.
That said, please bear with us as we’re still extremely new. Other startups have taken months or even a year to get in gear, which is surely very wise, but we don’t have that kind of time. The need is here and now.
Our emphasis is on this community, and that means we really want to hear from you. We believe that we work better together. I never wanted to be the “boss” of anything, and I intend to refocus on reporting as much and as quickly as possible. But I do want to amplify the voices that have been silenced for so long, and the Times is in a position to do that.
There are a few things I’d like to point out on that note:
- We’re seeking diverse perspectives to write regular opinion columns for the Times, for our Community Voices section. For those who wish to opine on occasion, we’d gladly welcome your letters to the Times.
- We’re offering some space for area organizations and organizers to provide updates and attempt to reach other folks who might share their mission.
- We’re launching “A view of Lawrence,” where we plan to showcase contributed drone photos from August Rudisell and Drone Lawrence. (Rudisell, a former Douglas County dispatcher, also runs the Twitter page @KsScanner, which we’ll feature on this site to help us keep up when there’s breaking news, and the public Facebook page “Lawrence Ks Community & Police Scanner.”)
- We want to launch “A moment in Lawrence,” where we want to display other contributed photos from members of the community. We invite you to share the moments, big and small, that make Lawrence home to you.
We hope you enjoy what we have on the site so far. There is more on the way very soon. Take a look around, and please direct any questions, comments and story ideas to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Lawrence!
— Mackenzie Clark (she/her) is a reporter for, and the founder of, The Lawrence Times. She lives in Lawrence with her sports reporter husband and two calico cats. She can be reached at email@example.com and @mclarknews on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.