June 19, 2021
Lawrence, US 92 F
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Meet The Lawrence Times, part III: Frequently asked questions

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

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You asked, we answered! We’ll add more answers as we get new questions rolling in, so check back for new information later.

Q: Why are you launching The Lawrence Times, and what are the goals of the publication?

What we want to accomplish is simple:

  • We want to provide the news that matters most to the Lawrence community in a form that is engaging and digestible, but thoughtful and impactful.
  • We want to speak truth to power and hold elected officials and community leaders responsible to their constituents. 
  • We want to represent the community we serve and work together to provide clear, accurate and insightful reporting on the issues that matter most.
  • We want to shine light on the untold stories — the folks doing amazing things behind the scenes, the people sacrificing to give to others, the creatives bringing visions to life, and the humans of Lawrence.
  • We want to help innovative journalists — and someday, journalism students — flourish in a healthy newsroom that fosters creativity, passion projects, deeper thinking and stronger reporting.

TL;DR? We want to do good stuff. 

Q: Will The Times focus solely on local news? Will it cover news only within city or county limits, or beyond?

We prefer to think of what the Times will offer as “community news” rather than “local news.” Although most of what we cover will be the people, happenings and issues of Lawrence, we believe that sticking to arbitrary and artificial geographic boundaries would only limit our focus when we really ought to be thinking outside the box. 

Q: How will the Times generate revenue? How will the Times become financially sustainable?

As we work to get the Times going, we will not initially institute a paywall because we want the Lawrence-Douglas County community to get acquainted with the type of content we plan to offer. 

We also want to be clear: The Lawrence Times won’t be free to everyone forever. However, we believe the Lawrence community supports and values equity and true journalism. That is why we are working to establish a model that will allow those who are able to pay a little more and “donate” a subscription for a pool of community members who can’t pay, but who read and value local news. So we’d consider it more of a “pay gate” than a paywall. 

The best way for the general public to help us keep The Lawrence Times around for years to come will be by buying a subscription. Sadly, reliable news isn’t free to produce, and as much as we would love to keep our content open to all, we also need to be able to pay our own bills and put food on our tables. We’re struggling to get by just like many of you reading this, and our livelihoods depend on the Times succeeding. 

On the bright side, we have relatively very little overhead right now, and we’re making use of many resources we can access cheap or free. We have no investors to pay back, and we have no corporate owners trying to make a profit off of us and our community. 

News outlets in 2021 — especially a tiny startup like the Times — require multiple revenue streams to stay afloat. We hope to rely on an affordable subscription model, community advertising revenue, and the successful application to journalism grant programs to make the Times a news outlet that’s set up for financial stability for the long haul. 

If you would like to help us get off to a great start with a one-time donation to the Times, we would sincerely appreciate any support you can provide via our GoFundMe

Q: Who are the reporters for The Lawrence Times?

Meet Mackenzie Clark: Mackenzie previously covered public safety for the Lawrence Journal-World, where she started her professional career and worked for about 5 1/2 years. Before that, she was editor-in-chief at The Campus Ledger, the student newspaper of Johnson County Community College, and at the University Daily Kansan, the student newspaper of the University of Kansas.

She started at the Lawrence paper in July 2015 as an intern at the copy desk, then started doing some health reporting on top of that. In January 2019, she moved to full-time reporting on the health, K-12 education and county government beats, and in July 2019, she took over the public safety beat, covering crime, courts and corruption. Most recently, she’s been emailing you.

Find her on Twitter (@mclarknews), Facebook, Instagram (@mclarknews) and LinkedIn. Check out some of her previous work here

Meet Conner Mitchell: Conner has covered the Douglas County community in various stints over the past six years, most recently as the University of Kansas reporter for the LJWorld, where he also worked as an intern in college. Conner also covered Kansas’ flagship university for four years as a reporter and editor at the University Daily Kansan. 

He has also worked professionally as a community reporter in Charleston, South Carolina, in addition to internships around the country at the Student Press Law Center, Palm Beach Post, and the Kansas City Star.

Find him on Twitter (@ConnerMitchell0), LinkedIn, Instagram (@ConnerMitchell0) and Facebook.

Q: Will the Times attempt to present all sides of a story, or will it lean a certain way, politically?

The Lawrence Times follows the code of ethics laid out by the Society of Professional Journalists. At its core, this code centers on four tenets: Seek truth and report it; minimize harm; act independently; be accountable and transparent. The full code of ethics can be read here

Whenever possible, Times journalists will strive to give all sides of a story the ability to be fairly offered and interpreted by readers. However, we want to make clear that racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise dehumanizing viewpoints — in addition to statements proven to be untrue — will not be given equal credence in this publication. 

This is not a policy meant to take any sort of political stance, as the Times views the publication of perspectives not offered in good faith as a disservice to our readers. 

Q: “Will you all be able to show the Lawrence public the darker and more nuanced truths of the gaps in our social support system and how we handle homelessness?”

Although it may be difficult initially with only two full-time reporters, we want the Times to offer an effective combination of day-to-day news coverage and revelatory investigative reporting. This area’s response to homelessness, as well as the inequities and the gaps in the social support system that created the overarching problem, are topics we hope to have the resources to cover in the near future.

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Q: “Remember when that other local news provider had blogs that users could contribute to? … Will the Times have something similar at some point (or do we think those have run their course)?”

Given the numerous options available for people to launch their own blogs, we don’t believe it would be a wise use of our limited resources to host such a service on our site. However, we want to raise up the voices of this community, and we will gladly consider submissions of guest columns and other contributed work. 

Q: “How will you support Haskell stories?”

Part of our mission in launching the Times is to make sure the Lawrence and Douglas County community is covered in its entirety, particularly those voices that have historically gone unheard in traditional media. Bolstering news coverage of Haskell is important to us, and we strongly encourage anyone with story ideas relevant to Haskell to reach out to Mackenzie and Conner. 

Q: “Will you cover the performing arts at KU?” / “Will you feature local artist profiles?”

The Lawrence community is full of talented artists of all kinds, and KU students and faculty are certainly among those doing incredible things. Yes, we want to shine a spotlight (sorry) on those talents. We believe this is also an area where local writers will be able to contribute their talent as freelancers, covering these stories in a greater depth than this duo of full-time reporters can swing. This is not because we don’t value this coverage — rather, it’s the opposite. We want to provide opportunities and pay well for good writing by people who are able to give these stories the time and attention they deserve. If you are, or if you know of, a local artist who should be showcased, or if you might be interested in helping us tell these stories, please reach out to hello@lawrencekstimes.com.

Q: “How will this business be managed? What will be the management structure and higher level decision-making authority?” / “Who is the editor/publisher?”

We believe that having too few perspectives responsible for making key decisions in coverage is irresponsible, which is why we’re going to expand the number of folks covering the news for the Times as soon as possible. However, we are also forming an advisory board that comprises people from the community with a wide range of lived experiences who will weigh in on how the Times is covering stories, and to ensure that we hold to a business model that is both equitable and sustainable. 

Q: Will the Lawrence Times cover KU sports? High school sports?

With our limited resources, at least for now, the Lawrence Times will stick to covering the most “newsy” aspects of KU sports that impact this community beyond the Jayhawks’ game-to-game happenings. That includes accountability for those in leadership positions, just like other institutions in town. But we know many of our readers value comprehensive coverage of sports, and when we’re able to start producing that content, we want to get it right. 

Q: What is your policy on corrections?

We value getting information right more than we value getting it first. But when we do get something wrong, we plan to correct the error as quickly as possible. We’ll also make it clear to readers what we’ve corrected. We may also publish clarifications when needed to convey that our word choice or context was not as clear as it should be.

If a major error is published over social media, we intend to note if we edit original posts where applicable to ensure that any shares are updated with corrected information, or if original posts cannot be corrected, we will send out corrected posts as well.

More coming soon! Send us your questions: hello@lawrencekstimes.com

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