Bonus Pub Notes: What’s about to happen to The Devil Strip

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“Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.” – Richard Wright

“If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.” – Lucy Larcom

 

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My kid gets blurry after dark.

The issue that is out around Akron right now, Issue 12, will be our last.

Sorry. I mean, it’s our last as a bi-weekly publication. My bad. I should have clarified that. Yeah, so, the next issue will be published on Wednesday, September 9 and then every month afterwards.

Why? Because I learned a few things this last month that make this “pivot,” as the business kids like to say, make sense.

1) I am not Superman. I’m not even Aquaman. Putting out a magazine every two weeks was already a difficult enough task before I became obsessive about “things” going on at the University of Akron. So while I have been surrounded by a surprising amount of support and tons of offers to help, I’ve been slow to say yes to it. That’s about to change. With this move to a monthly schedule, we’re putting an editorial org chart into place. This will increase the number of great stories we do by about 200 percent and cut down on emails I fail to answer by about 85 percent.

2) We’ve been ignoring what we can accomplish online. I’ve busted my hump to get a few large, deeply researched UA stories written and posted on our website. The audience for these stories has made me aware that we can and should post more online. So while we’re moving to a monthly schedule in print, we’ll be posting multiple times a day on the website and on social media. Along the way, I’ll get everything that’s still relevant from the print version to the website.

3) The two-week turnaround is too much for even our avid readers. I already knew how tough it can be on our contributors, who have full lives, full-time jobs, families, etc., to work on this schedule. Then I started asking our readers and learned they’re barely finishing one issue before there’s another out in the world. So, as we go monthly, I’ll increase the number of pages and the circulation so you have plenty to enjoy while you’re waiting on the next issue.

Initially the idea had been that our events listings in print would help people find new things to do. Well, we can be more timely online so even though we’ll keep doing event listings in the magazine, we’re dedicating a weekly email newsletter to the best stuff we find happening around Akron so you’ll always be in the know.

There’ll be other subtle changes. As we get the new org chart together, we’ll be redefining the magazine, playing with longform so you get compelling stories to sit with while developing short departments to make a quick, fun read easier.

To be frank, I have a lot of plans to do a lot of cool things in and around Akron with all the cool people we keep meeting here, so my objective is to make sure we get to that point. Slowing down the print schedule will free up much needed time for me to complete these projects, like the Kickstarter-funded newspaper boxes (update coming) and Unbox Akron (update coming), while also building the business side, like expanding distribution, finding more partners and selling a few ads, which we’ve barely attempted up until now, so we can, you know, eat.

If you have questions, just ask them. I’m an open book and this magazine is really yours anyway, so help me do a better job of running it.

Thanks for getting us through the first six months. Here’s to the next and a few years beyond that.

Chris

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