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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday June 20th 2024

Celebrate 45 Years of The Alley Newspaper

This November copy of The Alley Newspaper is one month away from the end of its 44th year of hard copy existence. There was a time, before the first issue, January 1976, that the “seed” was planted and the “germination” of an idea began its growth toward fruition. It became more obvious in December 1975 when the following notice was delivered to each Phillips Community house and business. Following is what was written by Gary Cox,
The Alley”™s first “editor” in the first flyer.

What”™s your story?

A Phillips Neighborhood Newspaper
Coming Soon
1975 Alley

[The words from that very first flyer!]

“The Alley is about us and our neighborhood. It will look very much like this and it will come to your door once a month. The articles will be written by the people who live here””not by professional newspaper people. You will see over and over again, articles written by your neighbors and yourselves. And if you don”™t like to write, just call us up. We”™ll get together for awhile and write it later.

The kind of story is up to you. They are all important because we know that it is the opinions of private citizens that really count. What we should do is to try to get to know each other better.

Start with the past: What was the neighborhood like a long time ago? What was life like for your parents and grandparents?

Or the present: What”™s it like working in a factory, living on the reservation or teaching school in the community? What are your opinions on what”™s going on in the neighborhood?

Or the future: How can things be improved? Who can do it? What do you imagine this area will look like in ten years? Do you plan to be here then?

A newspaper made of stories like this is not just a nice idea. The quality of life in the next few years depends on our ability to get to know each other and, together, find ways to get along.

We are not used to being asked what should be done to improve our neighborhood. Most often we”™re told about it after the plan is finished and the work has started. That”™s a funny thing because we”™re as smart as anybody else. Heck of a lot smarter than the downtowners who come up with all these high-flying ideas. It”™s funny because we know that it doesn”™t make any difference how much of an expert a person is, if he or she doesn”™t live in the neighborhood, he doesn”™t know what we need.

Nobody needs to tell us we have some problems in Phillips Neighborhood. We know because we live in the middle of them. It”™s because we live here that we are real experts on what our neighborhood needs. It”™s because we see things first hand. We learn from what we see. We need to let our neighbors and the people downtown know what we have learned. We need to hash out our problems amongst ourselves and come up with solutions we all live with.

When we think about making our neighborhood a better place to live, we must realize that we have an incredible advantage over other neighborhoods who want to do the same things. The advantage is the great number of different kinds of people in Phillips Neighborhood. There are old, middle aged, and young people. There are Indian, White, and Black people”¦people of Native, European, African, Asian, and South American ancestry. Put all that together and there is little we do not know.

We don”™t need to be told that different kinds of people together cause conflicts. Yet we should keep in mind that these differences offer the possibility of a better place to live and work. The conflicts, as damaging as they are to our state-of-mind and our physical property, create the energy we need to make Phillips Neighborhood a safer and friendlier community.

White Americans have a tradition of “getting my 2 cents in”. We must continue on that tradition and expand on it. The ideas and opinions of every person in this neighborhood are valuable. We need to hear as many of these opinions as possible on every subject. With these opinions we can see each other”™s needs and then initiate actions that will be good for all of us. And with knowledge of everyone”™s opinions, we can keep a sharper eye on the outsiders and their plans. Our neighborhood cannot be a good place for every one of us to live if any of us keep silent.”

At the “Emerging Mind of Community Journalism” conference in Anniston, Ala., in 2006, participants created a list characterizing community journalism: community journalism is intimate, caring, and personal; it reflects the community and tells its stories; and it embraces a leadership role. The Alley Newspaper continues to grow more fully into this important work of community journalism. 

The Alley”™s Mission

The Mission of Alley Communications will be to facilitate culture,
and creativity in the Phillips Community through publications, research, public forums, classes, workshops, artistic presentations, the Internet, and other means.” (revised 1999)

The Alley Is”¦

  • Advocating on Issues
  • Agitating for Change
  • Building Healthy Community
  • Documenting History
  • Facilitating Deliberation
  • Lifting Every Voice
  • Promoting Art & Culture
  • Connecting Neighbors

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