We’ve heard it all before: Corvallis is home to a vibrant community, rich in natural resources, inventive and actionable do-gooders, liberal systems of law and education, and an evocative art and entertainment industry. There’s every seed or ingredient to greatness here – yet how many of us feel immobilized?
We know the wealth isn’t spread evenly. We know access is limited and systematically exclusive. So, what are we going to do about it?
In the face of immobility and the endangered industry of alt weeklies, The Corvallis Advocate chooses change and resilience. Here, we hold a vision for the community, garnered in its reflection. We intend to churn the city soil – to bridge its root systems – by going above and beyond the page.
In order to sustain our vision, and fulfill our potential as advocates and motivators, we need nourishment; we need support.
I know this all sounds super lofty and elusive, so let’s get straight to it, shall we?
A Dying Breed
It’s no secret we are of a dying breed. Alt weeklies and even mainstream news sources are facing rapid extinction and budget loss – death by decline of print advertisement that keeps papers funded, and in the case of alt weeklies, generally free to the public.
In this day and age, we’re all weary of our sources anyways. Trustworthy sources are often buried under a sea of opinion and reactive hostility, leaving little room for growth. Plus, the print model seems outdated and inefficient to our needs and cultural pace. So, what do we do?
Our Mission, Revisited
More than an alt weekly, The Corvallis Advocate aims to function and be recognized as a living, breathing organism that mobilizes the public through dynamic community outreach and collaboration, steeped in shared values.
We intend to strengthen our focus in advocacy and promotion of productive or undervalued groups and individuals, while continuing to investigate weak roots and gaps in our community – issues in homelessness, housing, land use, and mental health accessibility, for instance.
We aim to present constructive solutions through deep research, investigation, and outside expertise and enthusiasm.
Using our words as catalyst to action, we intend to leap from the page and let our intentions and personalities be known, through increased live events tied explicitly to our values – of Advocacy, Humor, Social Justice, and many more. All of which will continue to determine our stories and themed issue content, subjects, and weekly story matter. Meanwhile, we will continue to deliver our lighter or more interactive fare, like travel columns, satire, madlibs, and more.
Our values will guide us in assessing and promoting who shares them in the Corvallis community – or otherwise, in exposing their abuse. We will mobilize our commitment through public events, with sponsors, support organizations, and other fun, interactive content. This could be just about anything imaginable: a benefit concert or charity drive; haunted house or cruelty-free carnival; community think and drinks; city speaks; citizen campaigns and incentives. You name it, and we’ll try our best to deliver it.
As an alt weekly, we are in the unique position of being able to thread together pockets of the community that otherwise would operate independently, thus promoting collaborative strength and trajectory. More than anything, we want to provide space and public platform for our community’s unique voices, goals, and talents – so that they are appreciated and considered. We want to boost and share your perspective through submitted works of art, poetry, cartoons, fiction, op-eds – anything.
Sustain CA Initiative
The changes have already begun. Our bi-monthly Storytelling Nights example our commitment to our values of Learning and Integrity, Risk and Open-Mindedness, and Interactivity.
This event has been a huge success and has a steady following which brings an air of open-mindedness and respect to each room.
Our website just got a little makeover. Because anything was better than what we’ve had before, we’ll be the first to admit that – but with such meager funds, there’s only so much we can and could do.
We are launching an Alt Corvallis facebook group, as an alternative play-space and platform for shared information, conversation, and interactive polls and posts. Skilled moderators have even volunteered some of their personal time to tend to this chat sphere, which as any, is subject to monopolization by inflammatory and reactive commentators.
It is our hope that these seeds can grow. We wish to improve our web and social media presence, enhance our design capacities, and collaborate with local artists and photographers on cover concepts and featured work. We want you to cherish the Advocate in your hands each week – for you to be suspended for a moment’s time as you read us – the world becoming clearer in the process. To make you think, learn, and laugh. Then to get you in a room, and for us to do those things together.
Maybe even someday, we can afford swag. Then I could finally make my dreams of a sexy farmers calendar and CA footie pajamas with butt-flaps come true. Got any better ideas? Do tell.
At our current capacity, we can only produce what you see each week, and that’s thanks to a small group of staff and writers who are overworked and underpaid (myself included), yet passionate and loyal to our goals.
Each of us have day jobs outside The Advocate that require our time and attention, and pay for our livings. The Advocate is an attempt at creating the changes we wish for our community and world – at shifting the public’s attention to those that deserve recognition or need to be held accountable.
We are visionaries and investigators that want to do so much, but are caught in a loop of malnourishment, stagnation, and constant turnover. The only way we can reflect the city’s dreams and influence real change is with the support of readers and those who share our values.
We Need Your Help
If you believe in our potential, and more importantly, the community we envision, we ask for your support. Our staff and writers deserve more than what they’re given, and so do you.
By becoming a member, or even making a one-time donation, you are investing in a mutual, ever-evolving dream for Corvallis. Perks currently include: free entry to future events, gift certificates from local vendors, and access to a monthly newsletter with issue highlights, community news, events, and other key information.
If you’re flat broke like us, or unwilling to spend a dime, at the very least, believe. Your care and attentiveness will help turn our city’s dial.
Especially now, it is essential to be brave and take action. We can’t reach refinement when we’re stuck in survival mode. But we can surely strive for it.
This isn’t even solely about The Corvallis Advocate. It’s about Corvallis, and the ripple effects our community and individual actions have on the world around us. Our focus is to make a holistic shift in news and media. To reach beyond the page and get people in rooms. That those rooms provide the threadwork of connection, shared ideas, and problem solving.
I hope you can join us.
Stevie Beisswanger, Editor-in-Chief
For a full list of The Corvallis Advocate’s values, visit http://www.corvallisadvocate.
To donate or pledge, visit http://www.corvallisadvocate.com/support-us/