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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday May 23rd 2024

Alley Update – September 2018

What Does It Mean To Be a Community Newspaper?

The first issue of The Alley Newspaper was produced in January 1976 making this mighty community newspaper 42 years old. Alley Communications is the non-profit (501c3) organization whose mission is to inform and engage members of our community, to increase community awareness and to promote community connections and conversations among and between its residents, businesses, and organizations. Neighborhood residents are the publication”'s reporters and writers telling their stories in their own words. The Alley is made available free to readers, a reflection of the commitment to providing barrier-free access to information and knowledge.

Unlike traditional media sources that write articles about our community most often by folks who do not live here or with little stake in our wellbeing, The Alley Newspaper lifts up the many diverse voices and ways of knowing of the people who live and work here. We are also able to tell positive stories of the people who live here and the systemic influences that pertain to some of the more negative occurrences within our community.

At this important time of transition for the organization, it is essential that Alley Communications is transparent in its deliberation about its challenges and subsequent changes. That is why the leadership chose to form a Transition Team of Alley Newspaper writers and readers to help us think through the challenges, opportunities and possibilities. Most importantly, that is why we have dedicated this entire page to update you, are readers. Together””readers, writers, organizational supporters, advertisers, board members, financial contributors and other stakeholders””we are what makes a community newspaper.

Challenges Facing The “Business” Of Publishing The Paper

Each month The Alley offers a variety of articles, some specific to that time, others that are recurring features. The publishing goal is to provide stories that are both vibrant and interesting. In Phillips, there is no end of news. There is, however, a limit to available funds and that, in turn, constrains the amount of space for publication. The cost of each Newspaper to produce and deliver is $.55 per each copy. This means that if you are reading this article in this “FREE” newspaper right now, it cost Alley Communications 55 cents to get it into your hands! That cost is absorbed entirely within the budget of the nonprofit The Alley organization at no cost to the readers, as has been the commitment since 1975.

What is the growth potential to once again increase revenue and increase coverage and translate that into increased readership? That answer lies within the collective wisdom of Phillips Community stakeholders.

It”'s time to reawaken the mission or cease publication; design a new, affordable structure or replace ourselves with a new generation of tireless volunteers; attract sustainable resources or admit funds do not exist; set new goals to achieve or celebrate what will forever be a finite, bound set of books in the Hennepin County Library system. There isn”'t anything in between for an endeavor that requires a near full-time commitment month by month.

The biggest lesson to date learned by the Transition Team is that the business model of the Alley Communications, the nonprofit organization needs to be grown and made sustainable. Without a strong and vibrant organization, there will be NO Alley Newspaper.

The Alley Newspaper participated in each of FOUR Neighborhood Gatherings over the summer:

  • NATIONAL NIGHT OUT ”“ Phillips West

We took a survey.

  • Approximately 130 surveys were completed.
  • The overwhelming response was that The Alley Newspaper needs to continue in a paper format.

The Alley Newspaper needs community participation to succeed.
Would you like to donate your performance skills or some food for the big event in October?
Have other ideas that Alley Communications needs to hear about?

Email Cathy at

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Make a donation of $5 or more to help provide the time and space for us to imagine our future!

Send checks to:
Alley Communications,
PO Box 7006,
Minneapolis, MN 55407

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