Newspaper moxie: Southsider Voice lives

Dateline: Thu 12 Feb 2009

At a time when newspapers around the nation are cutting back or in danger of closing entirely, a new Southside paper is emerging on the streets of Indianapolis.

The backstory? After greedy Gannett killed off two of its smaller community papers last year, the South Side Spotlight and the East Side Herald, three employees of the Spotlight did not take the news lying down.

Former Spotlight operations manager Kelly Smith and former assistant editor Denise Summers, both graphic designers as well, have kept alive the dream of a weekly serving their neighborhoods.

They will launch the first issue of the Southsider Voice next Wednesday with 25,000 copies. The paper, a freebie, will be distributed at racks throughout the Southside. Jeanie York, who formerly sold ads for the Eastside Herald and the Spotlight, is joining the staff of three to continue working in sales.

"Gannett gave us six weeks notice," said Summers, recounting the news that the Spotlight was to die a quiet death. "...But so many people said to us, 'What are we going to do? It's such a shame, not to have local can I help?'"

The paper's focus is "to try to show the positive side of the South Side of Indianapolis," added Summers. "Everyone wants to know what's happening, to see pictures of the Little League teams and their friends and neighbors. This is about community news."

The paper will be printed in Greenfield. The two investors -- that's Smith and Summers -- are operating out of a building at 3145 Madison Avenue owned by Jeff Cardwell, the city-county councilman. Fred Cavinder, formerly a writer for the Indianapolis Star, will contribute a column and stories to the paper.

For more information, visit the paper's website:

And wish them great good luck. Also, thanks to the tipster/friend who contributed to this story.


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