STILL IN PRINT Against all odds the IN has survived for 13 years. With the daily newspapers in New Orleans, Mobile and Birmingham soon going to only three print editions a week, the odds of our alt-weekly surviving another 13 years may seem slim, but don’t start writing our obituary.
The same skills that helped this paper prosper during one of the most economically challenging decades since the Great Depression are the very ones that will keep it in print for decades to come. We’ve learned to operate lean and write stories with passion, creativity and, at times, humor.
I’ve been fortunate to attract talent that cares as much about this community as much as I do. They have taken pride in every page we’ve produced. Dozens have worked and written for the IN over the past 13 years. Each added to our uniqueness. We’ve gone through several redesigns, but we have gotten better at our craft each year.
The biggest key to our longevity has been our fearless approach to investigative reporting. We’ve endured death threats, break-ins, slashed tires and broken windows. We even had one elected official have his son drive around town to pick up as many copies as possible so that readers wouldn’t learn what stupid thing his Pop had done.
Elected officials called advertisers and warned them to stay away from our paper. Places like The Coffee Cup refused to display issues unless their manager first read and approved of all the articles. We were called a worthless rag that no one read and no one cared about.
We refused to waiver. Were we smart? No. Could we have been less abrasive and brash? Yes, but I don’t think we would still be here had we compromised our independence and journalistic integrity.
Seven years ago major advertisers in the area blackballed us because we challenged Rebuild Northwest Florida to be more transparent and we wrote about a series of deaths in the Escambia County Jail. Critics later called us “sell-outs” for fighting for the Community Maritime Park, Access Escambia and Strong Mayor referendums.
Most recently we’ve been attacked for our reporting on the huge racial disparities in Escambia County and for questioning the bizarre antics of some members of the Pensacola City Council.
We’ve learned to take these attacks in stride. We will continue to connect the dots as best we can. We will take stands for what we believe is in the best interest of the entire community. And we will continue to prick the pretentious.
We’re not going away any time soon.