My IL Digest: Our Local Box, Happy Birthday Park, brilliant kids, the Churchill Downs bugler and more Thursday, May 9 2013 

Gabe Bullard in the deserted infield at Churchill
There's so much to love about my job with Insider Louisville

Sure there are drawbacks to every job. 

This one's pretty high-stress at times. Sometimes I find myself climbing the stairs to my office in the morning thinking, "Okay, you're not trying to cure cancer. Things shouldn't have you this worked up."

And as we all know, the comments-section of online journalism is where simple human decency goes to die. We're lucky at IL to not have too, too many trolls, but I assure you, my email in-box is a much thornier place than the comments section. (Really, we all can't agree that a childrens' museum might be a nice thing for the city? You disagree so heartily you have to get ugly about it? Think of the children!)

One of the things that bums me out about my job– and I'm sure all journalists, online, print and otherwise, feel the same way– is how ephemeral it is. I'll pour time and research and effort and care into a story. And at best it booms for a couple of days and gets passed around social media. At worst, it gets some reads and the quietly sinks down the homepage into the archives.

And that's sad. I guess it's a little bit about ego, sure. But it's more about the fact that these people that I report on are doing such remarkable things that I wish these pieces had a little more staying power. 

(Note: all links lead to the full article)

Like Dan Campbell and Jason Lee Menard of Our Local Box, a startup subscription box that is delivering a package full of Kentucky-made goodness to doorsteps across the country every month. I met them at Tony Boombozz, where the idea for their venture first germinated and listened to them wax passionately about ecommerce and buying local. 

Like Marsha Weinstein, who may be one of my new favorite Louisvillagers, who founded the effort to get a Happy Birthday Park installed on Fourth Street to honor the composers and educators Peggy and Mildred Hill. It had been a while since I last chatted with someone who shared my passion for US Women's History. And she brought some pretty serious deficits to my attention. 
According to Marsha Weinstein, there are over 2,400 historical markers in the state of Kentucky. Sixty of them commemorate the lives and accomplishments of women. A quick search of the database of historical markers in the state finds that Weinstein was probably being generous in her estimate. Of all the public memorials and artwork in downtown Louisville, none are dedicated to women.
I eventually confirmed this last fact with the department of Public Art. We have art designed by women (very little) but nothing honoring women. Weinstein is a powerhouse and a passionate advocate for women and girls. It was an honor to spend an hour picking her brain. 
Like Anthony Perry and Susana Almaguer Martinez, whom I didn't speak with but wrote about. These two Louisville high school seniors have 4.0 averages and a remarkable resume of acheievments. They've both been accepted by the Gates Foundation to receive Gates Millenium Scholarships– full rides to the schools of their choice. Perry, from St. Francis, will go to UPenn. Martinez, who has only been in the US for 2 years and attends Seneca, will be going to USF. 
Like Steve Buttleman, the official bugler of Churchill Downs, whom Linda and I interviewed on Louisville, Not Kentucky. The story about our behind-the-scenes adventures at Churchill Downs' Opening Night is one of my all-time favorite stories, I think.
Sometimes, of course, it is all about me. Right? Even though I was sick and cranky, I think my recap of who's going to be performing at the State Fair is still pretty dead-on. Again, pissy comments, but not not fun. Likewise, my rundown of what wasn't allowed at Churchill Downs during the Derby. Jeffrey Lee Puckett of the CJ did it better (video!) later, but I did it first. 
Those articles are just from the past 10 days and represent only a quarter of what I wrote during those days for IL.
I was also interviewed by the fabulous Erin Keane for WFPL's news special on the Great Gatsby and Louisville. The two of us went in search of Daisy Fay's house in the Cherokee Triangle. It was a lovely way to spend a lovely spring morning. You can listen to the story at the link. (you can pick up my part at around 10:00, but if you're into Gatsby at all, don't miss the whole special from the start). Spoiler alert: We didn't find it. We don't think anyone can. That wasn't a journalism-thing. It was a former-English-teacher-thing. But still, part of a good couple of weeks.
Thanks to all of you who bring me great stories or who ARE great stories. You make my life and job so much better.

Loueyville readers and friends (who I hope are also readers) pledge their time to the LPM pledge drive Friday, Apr 12 2013 

The "Loueyville Bloggers"
I'm just bubbling over with gratitude today. Last night, 8 friends and blog readers and I volunteered at the LPM pledge drive. Some were old friends and fund drive vets (Linda, Isaac, Ashlee). Some were newer friends or people I don't see all that often (Haley, Steve, Heather). And two were brand new friends I'd never met before (Emily, Sarah) but who had found out about the drive on the blog.

Thank you, good Louisvillagers.

And thank you too to all the people who volunteered but either couldn't make it or that I had to turn away. Your desire to volunteer and your support of Public Radio makes you awesome. It didn't hurt that we all had a rip-roaring good time. It was a little slow, so we filled the hours with laughter, pet pictures, and joshing around with the LPM folks. Thank you too, Louisville Grind, for feeding us in style.

(On air, they kept calling us the "Loueyville bloggers," so I don't think I'm going to be picking up any new traffic for the on-air thanks. That's fine. They've never gotten it right, actually. What do you think I should have them say? Usually I think they say "Loueyville.com," which makes me wonder if people think it's folks from Louisville.com who are volunteering.  I guess it's my fault for picking a rather silly blog name and sticking with it all these years. I should talk to my marketing friends-- does the blog need to be rebranded? Sorry, just thinking "out loud" here.)

I'm tickled-- tickled, I tell you-- that LPM folks and I already decided that next pledge drive, we'll either take 2 slots or the Friday busiest slot. I don't like turning people away, and I definitely love the heck out of volunteering.

The pledge drive continues through Saturday. If you haven't renewed your membership or become a member this time around, please do so. The number is 502-815-6565. Or you can donate online at www.WFPL.org.

UPDATED: Public radio plea: Volunteer during the pledge drive and we’ll feed you well with GRIND Tuesday, Apr 2 2013 

UPDATE: By 4 p.m. today, 10 people had signed up to volunteer. That's more than we actually need. But the more the merrier, right? Thank you so much for being so totally awesome, folks. I can't accept any more volunteers, but I encourage you to pledge online or call 502-814-6565 and pledge starting next Monday. It would be especially awesome if you called on Thursday, April 11 between 6-9 p.m. to make your pledge with one of our wonderful volunteers! Be well... Melissa

It's public radio pledge time again. And once again, I've secured a block of time for Loueyville readers and friends to answer phones and sign up new pledges with WFPL.  This is our fourth time manning the phones; every time has been more fun than the last. Again, rather than reinventing the wheel, I'm posting an old plea for contributors:

It's that time again, Louisvillagers.

Louisville Public Media is gearing up for their fund drive in a couple of weeks. During the past few fund drives, online personalities have repeatedly said, "Give what you can. Give what Louisville Public Media is worth to you."

[Several fund drives ago],  I realized I really can't afford to give what WFPL and WFPK are worth to me. They are the only radio stations I listen to. WFPL is the source of all my non-online news (and the source of much of my online news as well through their blog). I live in a very NPR world. I probably should pledge 10 times what I actually do in order to really "pay back" what WFPL and WFPK give to my life. 
But I can't. 
So last [3 fund drives ago], I volunteered. Gave a little human capital to the pledge drive. And it was a ton of fun. And it would have been more fun if I'd been with friends.
So this fund drive I'm putting a little group of Readers of Loueyville together to volunteer to answer phones at the fund drive. If you're interested in joining us, please drop me an email at Lou (at) Loueyville.com. 
If you're reading this blog, you probably listen to one of our public radio stations. So I hope you consider giving back. If you can't join us, volunteer to answer phones on your own. Email: kwilkinson@louisvillepublicmedia.org for details. You can also pledge in advance and be eligible for a drawing for a 13" MacBook Air. Just click the link or call 502-814-6565.

We'll be manning the phones on Apr. 11 from 6 p.m until 9 p.m. The free dinner supplier that night is the Grind Burger truck. Yes, I planned our volunteering block with the food source in mind.  

Would you like to join us? Email lou@loueyville.com.

Guest Blogger: Gabe Bullard on WFPL & Louisville Public Media Tuesday, Oct 30 2012 


Gabe Bullard is the Director of News and Editorial Strategy at WFPL and a dear friend.

In the final hour of this fall's membership drive, I said something silly about my coworkers. I called us "true believers," like I was Stan Lee introducing a new Avengers adventure. 

You hear it a lot during pledge drives. "What we do is kind of crazy." We spend money buying national programs, sending reporters across the city and state and paying DJs, administrators and technicians. Then we ask people who have been getting this content for free for six months to voluntarily call us and help pay for it. No bills mailed to your house, no set amount to pay. It takes true believers to work in an enterprise like this, but it also takes true believers next to their speakers or computer to make it work. It's amazing to have a community that supports us, and I can assure you that every time you hear someone on air say thank you, they mean it.

The last pledge drive brought in $435,000. Now what? Well, we continue bringing you the shows, programs, music and coverage you listen to. But we're not resting. That would be too easy. It would be easy for our reporters to come in, read some press releases and knock off early. It would be easy to play the same hit songs over and over. But what we do here is a little crazy. We want to make things. We want to dig into stories. We want to develop new podcasts and shows. We want to find new music and uncover big news. We want to find more shows and bring them to you. And we hope that you'll help us pay for all this later on. 

I know this sounds a bit "group hug," but it's true. To spare you, though, I'd like to mention a few things I'm excited about. 

First of all, news. I have been a journalist my whole career. I always wanted to be one. Now I get to work with some of the best journalists in the city. It's great to be in news meetings and hear the ideas for stories that we'll be reporting in the next hours, days and months. Also, we're building an investigative reporting center.

Second, shows. We love the shows that have defined public radio for years, and we're always looking for what will define our sound in years to come. WFPL was among the first stations in the country to play some of my favorite programs: Q and the Tobolowsky Files (note: I didn't make the decision to put these on, but I certainly celebrated it). We also have Bullseye on Friday nights and WTF on Sundays. Both are must-listens for me, and they're hard to find on the airwaves in other cities. And there are also great pieces out there coming from independent producers. I go through the website prx.org the way record collectors dig through bins. You may hear short and excellent pieces from the Memory Palace, 99% Invisible and Decode DC when you listen to WFPL, because we want to showcase things we like. 

Third, more shows. We love finding great shows and bringing them to you. We also like making them. Phillip M. Bailey's Noise & Notes is a new addition to our Saturday night lineup, and our new podcast Strange Fruit: Musings on Politics, Pop Culture and Black Gay Life just launched. That's in addition to new reporting series: The Big Break, Unique and You Again. 

We want to bring you stories and shows that we find interesting and important on air, and we want to do it online and in person, too. Look for us to be in the community more. We're launching new blogs. Check out our Instagram, where we're showcasing photos from This...Is Louisville magazine. 

None of this is meant as a knock on anyone else in media around town. We share the same goals. We all want a robust media, and we all benefit from it. But this isn't a great time for media. Things are tough and we're always making sure we spend our money in the most beneficial ways possible. We're happy to be expanding. We're happy to be building a reporting center. We're happy that we can do all this through support from local people who like what we do and who want to keep it going.

Sometimes it helps to be a little crazy.

Thursday Randomness: What have I been up to? Thursday, Oct 18 2012 

Is it the middle of October already? My goodness. Time really flies when you're having fun.

And, gentle readers, I am having so much fun these days!

Sure, money is way tight, and I am still struggling with what to do about my lack of insurance. But if you zapped those two stressors from my life (anyone? anyone?), I'd be fool happy.

I'm totally crazy about my new freelancing life. I have the best readers (that's YOU!). My friends never cease to amaze me. And The Guy and I just passed the one year of dating mark, and I couldn't be more in love.

So, what else have I been up to? 

  • Tomorrow marks the end of my second week of employment at Insider Louisville. Depending on who you talk to, I'm either the "Deputy Director of Content" or the "Associate Managing Editor." I'm not really hung up on titles; whatever you want to call me, I'm having a hell of a good time. I've been helping out around the joint, writing 2-5 articles a day, working on vetting freelancers and much more. We're still moving into our new office in NuLu, and every morning when I drive to work I have to pinch myself. Ever since my job hunt began, I've had a superficial goal of either working downtown or in NuLu, and here I am with my own desk, an endless supply of good coffee, and a job that I can't wait to go to when I wake up. My bosses respect me. I feel like I add a lot to the organization. And I'm getting paid to do cool stuff and write about it. My fingers and toes are crossed that this turns into a full-time gig with benefits someday soon. (And my fingers and toes are crossed that I continue to be this happy with this job).
  • For the past six weeks or so, I've been working part time as a "Twitter Specialist" for 520 East Brands. Shane is a dream to work for, and I'm thrilled to be the "twitter voice" for many beloved local and national brands. I knew one day my Twitter addiction would pay off!
  • Chipman Creative was hired two months ago to "ghost blog" for local real estate agent, WordCamp maestro, and fellow Start-Up Weekend attendee, Scott Hack. We did the true "ghost" thing for a little while, but over the past few weeks, we've started to put my name on the posts. So if you're looking for more of my posts, follow Scott's blog. And obviously, if you have any real estate needs, you should contact Finish Line Realty. Scott is awesome.
  • Last Saturday, my Louisville, Not Kentucky co-host Linda and I worked a booth at the Flea off Market. We signed people up for our mailing list and interviewed people for Episode 7 and beyond. We met lots of listeners and even got to interview the Mayor. It was a beautiful day, and we're looking forward to doing it again in November.
  • Tuesday, a group of Loueyville readers and friends volunteered to answer phones at the NPOTM, Louisville Public Media fund drive. Thanks to Kara, Dawn, Bethany, Stephanie, Stephen, Ashlee, and Linda for coming along. We ate lots of pizza and talked to some great LPM supporters on the phone.
So now, besides this blog, my twitter, my facebook, and my pinterest, you can now catch me on Insider Louisville, the Finish Line Realty blog, Louisville Not Kentucky, and as the voice of brands you know and love on Twitter. 

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