As I look back on 2022, I see a difficult year of adjustment in our operations, but a rewarding year based on the feedback of readers.
Internally, turnover complicated life, but as we approach a new year, we have largely stabilized staffing. One of the givens of a small newspaper with big aspirations is that talented journalists will pass through.
We filled one hole this month with the addition of Nicole Noechel, a recent grad of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, whose family lives in Okemos. Nicole is our events editor as well as a deputy to me on the production side. She edits the Out on the Town section, to which you can contribute online at https://www.lansingcitypulse.com/calendar/#!/. But if you want to pitch an idea for a story or highlight (those briefs we run in the calendar section), email her as far in advance as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her (517) 999-5066.
On the freelance front, we are very pleased to have attracted two new regulars: Lucas Henkel, who writes our weekly marijuana column, Lansterdam in Review, and Lizy Ferguson, who contributes both The Dish and New in Town. We look forward to long and rewarding relationships with both.
I am excited to announce that Joan Nelson, who retired last summer as the founding director of the Allen Neighborhood Center, will join us as a monthly columnist. We look forward to her views on urban matters and other issues.
We are pleased as well that Kyle Melinn and Dedria Humphries Barker will continue to contribute their columns. Back, too, is Rich Tupica’s Turn It Down weekly music column, which is paired with a vastly improved Live and Local listing of upcoming performances. Todd Heywood, whose encyclopedic knowledge of the Lansing area gained from three decades of coverage for various news organizations is an invaluable resource, continues as a staff member. Mary Cusack continues as a theater reviewer, and on the food front, we’re pleased that Gaby Lawrence and Bryan Beverly are staying on as our She Ate/He Ate restaurant reviewers. Bill Castanier will continue to share his vast knowledge of books and local history. And what would City Pulse be without the contributions on almost all fronts of Lawrence Cosentino? He will be continuing as well.
The Edit, City Pulse’s editorial, which appears almost weekly, will benefit from a first-ever editorial board that is taking shape. Our goal for The Edit (which appears this week) is for it to expand to every week in the new year.
On the business front, we lost our house mother, office manager Suzi Smith, to retirement. But we gained Kamara Miller Drane, who can help you with public and legal notices and payments and can direct you to the right person for advertising. She is at email@example.com and (517) 999-6704. She joins Lee Purdy in the business office, whose sales efforts at City Pulse for five years have made him an invaluable team member.
An area of business that is challenging is getting papers into your hands. Our circulation was 16,000 before the pandemic, and we have bounced back to 14,300. The demand is there for much more. We are grateful to all our 300 distributors. Thanks to them, we have surpassed the daily Lansing State Journal in circulation. And if Kroger and Whole Foods would reverse their decisions to ban free publications, which cost us nearly 4,000 papers a week, we’d rival the Journal’s Sunday numbers. We’re grateful that Fresh Thyme — our biggest pickup point — has not followed suit.
The snowy November weather reminds me to give a shout-out to our delivery drivers: Dave Fisher (still going strong at 81), Curt Louck, Sarah Moore and our most recent addition, Cindy Heistand, the former distribution manager of Wheeler Deeler. Cindy is a retiree who wanted something to keep her active, and we’re glad she picked City Pulse. We can use one more driver.
Local journalism is more important than ever as we adjust to an evolving media landscape. We at City Pulse appreciate every cent that readers contribute to help us bring you enterprising stories. Inflation has hit us as hard as everyone else, particularly the costs of paper and gas to deliver the paper. Your gifts really do make a difference. Thus, if you still have it, please use the donation envelope that was in every copy of last week’s paper. Otherwise, please mail us a check made out to City Pulse, 1905 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI 48912, go online to www.lansingcitypulse.org/support-us or call (517) 999-6704 to contribute by credit card.
Thanks for reading City Pulse and have a wonderful holiday season.
(Berl Schwartz is the editor and publisher of City Pulse.)
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