Thursday, March 8, 2012

Just say no to Scroll Fatigue, here's Section One of Today's Pipeline

(Note: To prevent "scroll fatigue" in the e-newsletter, I am posting section one here. sorry, no time to add links, all of the links will be in the actual newsletter, due out by 1PM today. sign up here)

The power of a community taking care of one of its own was felt this past Monday night at the Double Door. Read on.

In other news, it's a busy night in the neighborhood. Per the Friends of Bloomingdale Trail's website, work on the trail's Framework Plan is nearing completion. There will be a an event tonight (Thurs. March 8) at Yates Elementary, 1839 N. Richmond Street, featuring two open house (one from 5-6PM; the other 7:30-8:00PM), as well as a presentation and Q&A (6:00-7:30PM). More details here.
Curious what "framework" means, too? Visit this Grid Chicago post.

Across town, also happening tonight, the Wicker Park Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Google Places, Time Out Chicago, bartenders from local haunts like Pint and Club Lucky, and event host, the Jackson Junge Gallery to produce a Mixologist Mash-Up! At the mash-up, the Official Drink of Wicker Park will be determined by attendee voting. Doors open at 6PM. I.D. required for entry. Proceeds from the $25 ticket (buy online through 5PM today; otherwise $35 at the door) benefit the chamber and you'll even receive a free subscription to Time Out!

Speaking of subscriptions, thanks to those have taken our Anonymous Reader Feedback survey thus far (there's still time; take it here). 75% of you checked "yes," that you'd be willing to pay to subscribe to this weekly e-newsletter, and one person wrote, "I wouldn't be willing to pay [for the pipeline] but I would take a pledge to shop at Pipeline advertisers."

In response to the question of, "If there were no sponsored news/advertising, I'd enjoy reading the Pipeline more than I do now," 75% of you said no. One person elaborated in the comment field, with, "I like advertising. It helps pay for things and it also informs us what is new in the vendor community."

Another respondent gave us lots to think about:

"But to be honest, the pipeline seems kind of amateurish--just random stories and ads...and colors....is there a mission statement? What exactly are you covering? Wicker Park and Bucktown only? It's a confusing newsletter."

As for the colors, we're not sure. We like playing around with the Constant Contact template, and tend to prefer pink for Valentine's Day and green for St. Patrick's. We're the first to admit we're amateurs in the design dept. We resist the idea of having a "brand" and a specific color scheme but it is something to think about for the future.

So here's our first mission statement, open to revision and interpretation: Chicago Pipeline's mission is to strengthen our local economy by providing a community-driven, people-inspired news and information pipeline that is sustainable through advertising sponsorships from the community we live in and report on. Our core coverage areas are Wicker Park/Bucktown and surrounding neighborhoods like West Town, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park.

The question about our mission statement or lack thereof was the best thing to come out of the survey. I (alisa) initially began the pipeline as a small freelance project, to assist Paula Barrington, former director of the WPB chamber, with writing her weekly chamber member newsletter, Around the Water Cooler, which I renamed to Street Scene.

About four months into Street Scene, it became a much bigger (and more time intensive) project than I'd anticipated, and that was entirely my fault. I kept learning about events and shops and wanted to "expand" on them. I changed the newsletter's name to the "The Pipeline," symbolizing a pipeline of virtual information that was supported by those who utilized it either by passively reading it, actively contributing news or story leads to it, or passing it on by sharing it through social media. Kennedy, owner of Casa de Soul, pictured, was featured at the top of our very first pipeline. Casa is now unfortunately closed, like many of the small businesses we've reported on over the past few years. It is these small shops that we hope to bring more awareness to, and while I detest the word "shill," if we are to be considered a shill, we'd rather invest time writing about an indie-owned business that doesn't exist anywhere else than a Shamrock Shake.

I believe the pipeline offers a nascent new model for delivering information. It's certainly not a perfect model and has many flaws. Three years deep, I still consider the pipeline to be perpetually beginning and I am always exploring ways to, as Sammy Sosa once said, "Keep it continue."

The stronger our sponsorship support, the better our content, as I believe in compensating our contributors when we have sufficient advertising funding. If you are a local business interested in joining the pipeline's network of advertising sponsors, for the mutual benefit of strengthening the pipeline as well as sharing your message and offerings in PRINT this summer, we invite you to check out our rate card for the upcoming Summer Printed Magazine, and call 773-960-3997 to set up a meeting with myself, Alisa, or Davis Popper, a young writer, pictured, whose been shadowing me the past month, and, as it turns out, teaching me. Davis brings a greater level of professionalism, efficiency, and positivity to the pipeline.

Unlike traditional media where an advertising sales rep might call you back at lightening fast speed, our operators aren't exactly standing by... we're busy reporting on the neighborhood, speaking of which, we hope to see Pipeline readers at the Trail Meeting tonight and the Mash-Up. We'll do our best to hit one or both.

Thanks for reading.

Alisa Hauser

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