How this idea came about
By hanging out with Tom Campbell and entrepreneurs I’ve met through the EC Chamber of Commerce and River City Development, it becomes easy to recognize the talent and potential that our Northeastern NC region has. I saw how I could help to create a community asset serving the entire northeast North Carolina via a web presence, and I can use everyone’s help to figure out how to make this happen (while simultaneously promoting and safeguarding the Daily Advance and Albermarle Trading Post efforts at the same time — by not infringing upon their currently very limited advertiser revenues).
This is a region rich in resources but lacking in outlets and distribution channels. Our region sees limited capital to invest in new ventures of any kind. I see cooperative ventures as a solution to that dilemma.
So, I reasoned, creating a Web-based outlet costs next to nothing, especially when I can do the programming myself.
Features and Founding Editorial Stance
Tom Campbell and I met a few times and discussed the editorial focus and directions this could take, based upon our perception of both the glaring needs and the traditional interests of the region. These traditional needs and interests let to the menu structure of the current site mock-up display visible above.
This area enjoys a rich literary tradition, with many of the finest writers in the southeast living in eastern North Carolina. We will showcase writers’ works of locally based fiction, historic fiction and historic fact. The opportunity to attract new readership through serializing short novels or sharing short stories is here, and the arrangement will be non-binding in case an author receives an offer for an exclusive contract.
We also have some incredible photographers and a region rich in subject material. A photographer’s showcase is being considered, but meanwhile local photographers can offer their images for use – and get paid for that use – as illustrations for articles. The same non-binding arrangement as I just described existing with writers applies here.
Entrepreneurship is going to be an important issue as the entire country shifts its focus and redefines what we all do for a living and how business and the economy works. We will feature interviews with existing and up-and-coming entrepreneurs to share the passion and energy that drew them into becoming entrepreneurs in the first place, and gives them the drive to face and overcome the challenges they face. We consider Artists as being entrepreneurs, so interviews with local artists will also be a part of this endeavor.
Farming – whether growing commercial crops or crops intended for local consumption and disbursement — is a huge part of this area’s growing agricultural heritage and future. With new technologies emerging encouraging year-round production such as high-tunnels, low-tunnels, plasti-culture and a renewed revolution in hydroponics and sustainable farming techniques, these methods and distribution approaches will become major features of the site. I hope to encourage FFA and 4-H students to write some articles for us. Guides and informational pieces will have a permanent home as we collect the already public-domain information from our Extension agencies at NC State, NC A & T State and other agriculture-centered research institutions and get that directly to people in ways well organized and easily searchable.
The educational institutions in this area go beyond the fine schools here in the region to include organizations offering business and leadership education such as the local Chamber of Commerce has done in conjunction with College of the Albermarle’s Small Business Center and Elizabeth City State University has done with the Small Business and Technology Development Center. And those are just two of such organizations. Education is abounding in our region, and we will collect and inform people about all the opportunities we can gather. Education is the key to success in anything, but it is also fun and fulfilling. I will be spearheading science clubs for young and older adults alike to engage in satisfying their curiosity and have friends to enjoy science stuff with, and will use this site as an organizational center for that as well.
The potential in this region is very exciting! We stand at the beginning of a new frontier. The focus is going to be on better food, enriching cultural experiences and inspiration-driven learning to keep improving our own and our communities overall health and well-being. Community is the key force we have to use in this day and age, and with an accessible place to put our energies we can help to build that sense of community for the entire region.
Payment of Writers – Prices and Terms
Write article and upload with pictures placed – $40 to $50 per article depending on its length
Write article and we upload and add pictures – $30/article
To Photographers – if their photo is used in article – $10/article (doesn’t apply if author takes pics)
Photo-gallery article – free gallery feature per contributor: being considered as web space allows.
Being a democratically owned, run and operated cooperative, the member-owners will ultimately decide upon these rates. The above are suggested amounts to initiate discussion only.
Why you want to be involved
We all want to see our quiet part of the world become more vibrant and energetically motivated while keeping the quiet parts we all love about the region intact. This is about more than making money – it is about spreading inspiration and passion, encouraging writers, photographers, entrepreneurs and farming endeavors, and making lifetime learning, sharing and growing all parts of our regular experience in a manner clearly and obviously being supported by all those around us.
Take Action Now – Be a Founder and Part-Owner of this Cooperative Venture!
So, I ask you now to get the sponsors, grants and specialty advertisers on board with supporting this project by filling this website up with content right now as its founding contributors, and let the money come later. (It will.) This is a project needing hearts and minds – giving people who care about their neighbors. You have the skills and talent to make this a reality, whether your strengths are in writing, photography, research, grant writing or in sponsor solicitation. Let’s do this, and invite and encourage others we know to help as well. This is about building a base for the future that we can all want to see sustained and nurtured; building a legacy of cooperative support and encouragement that lasts for years to come! It starts right here, right now. Please give your best contact information and a brief description of what you’d like most to contribute. And thank you for your kind attention.
Now, do you have questions? It is time for discussion about how we can most effectively pull this off!
I myself have four discussion questions that could start things off:
Is the proposed payment schedule reasonable? Is it too high or too low? (Writers? Photographers?)
Should we go with a sponsorship and grants model solely? Or are there advertisers we can attract who would not normally be interested in newspaper display advertising anyway, so we could have some advertisers without competing for turf with the Daily Advance or the Albermarle Trading Post?
I’m considering setting this up as an L3C, standing for a Low Profit Limited Liability Corporation. You can read about that and why I like that approach at NCMarketers.com.
Does the notion of a membership-owned democratically controlled venture resonate with you? That is similar to employee-owned, but like the State Employees Credit Union, allows that ownership to extend to those using and benefiting from the services offered.
I come from a Fine-Arts and musical background, and studied conceptual art and electronic music under Jay Lee Jaroslav and Larry Johnson at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, but ended up with socially oriented projects becoming my focus in later years. My “Art” became service-oriented towards helping communities. Being still basically an artist, of course, once I get an idea in my head I tend not to let it go for anything, and I haven’t changed much in that regard in forty years now.
To list a few past accomplishments and projects, I was a co-founder and spokesperson of Boston’s “Biospheres” and the Foundation for the Alliance of the Cultural Arts and Humanities’ “Artispheres,” and co-founder and co-director of NYC’s “Art for the People” promoting events eventually involving hundreds of volunteers bringing art events to thousands and thousands of people.
In Connecticut I initiated the first entertainment-industry modeled program for Junior Achievement, showing teens how to run their own music and dance events for each other.
I bridged the digital divide in the 90’s in this state of North Carolina by personally acquiring, refurbishing and giving away 135 computers to handicapped and elderly citizens of Winston-Salem. Then I taught them all how to use their shiny “old made new again” computers!
I taught Graphic Arts and Imaging Technologies at Forsyth Technical Community College for five years – 3 as full-time professor – after graduating with all “A’s” except for one lonely B in eight semesters and getting myself noticed that way so that I was asked to teach – initially as a fill-in but that became full-time status pretty quickly.
Currently, at age 62, I take care of my aged mom and make money as a website programmer and design implementation expert. I taught myself a few programming languages so I could work from home. My biggest clients are the NC Native Plant Society at their site ncwildflower.org as their webmaster and developer, and am lead developer for the successful web project Ruralintelligence.com: an advertiser-supported web magazine in upstate New York. I’ve been with both of those clients for six years now. I also have been teaching marketing skills to people through SCORE out of Kitty Hawk, and to a few folks through the River City Community Development Corporation and also at the NC Cooperative Extension Service, both in Pasquotank county, and recently started NCMarketers.com to share that sort of knowledge with people on the web to supplement what I have been presenting to them in-person. What I learned through marketing consulting and writing during these projects led me to taking on this latest project.
I bought the domains for northeastnc.com with the intention of creating a community-supported resource for the entire region as an experiment in social entrepreneurship. I’ll be working with a designer or designers – perhaps someone here locally – to build up this site aesthetically with a good user-friendly structure and editorial focus.