From The Editors
For those of you who know what's going to happen tomorrow, your wait is almost over. For those of you who don't, your wait has just begun. In the meantime, read this.
After nearly two years of strategically planning the vision for the Erie Reader and developing a business plan designed to ensure the success of a free, independent source for news, culture, and entertainment in Erie, we put that plan into action. Since Erie had never seen a publication like this, we still faced the challenge of explaining how the Erie Reader would serve the community. We set forth to deliberately showcase what the Reader would focus on in the first few cover stories we printed: Buddy Guy's visit to the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center, the rise of the crooked i as the place to see live music, the importance of the Erie Art Museum's Annual Spring Show, and the significance and impact of fracking in our region.
While Erie long relied on its regional news over the controversial and volatile method of extracting natural gas from media outside the city, we made it our mission to cover the events unfolding in North East. And when the drills first pierced the rain-soaked earth, we were there with video cameras and tape recorders rolling, even after our story had run weeks before.
Why? Because we love Erie and care about the things that affect our city, all the way from the arts scene to issues that literally shape our landscape for years to come. And because as an independent publication, we're not beholden to any corporation and remain free from the influence of investors and free from censor so that what we share and report is what we believe matters.
Fast-forward nearly a year. Remember our cover story last March dealing with the GAF situation? Clocking in at a robust 6,500 words, our thorough treatment of the state of affairs at GAF showed people that we're not some half-assed online-only music rag with delusional self-inflated self-importance or some clueless penny-saver fishwrapper foisted on unknowing businesses without their consent and against their will. Stories like the GAF story demonstrate why we are Erie's only free, independent source not only for culture and entertainment, but also long-form news stories – stories that our writers aren't afraid to put their boots on and get dirty digging up to provide coverage no one else can or will, given our unique position.
And we continued to further our coverage when we followed that cover story with a detailed explanation of City Councilman David Brennan's alternative plan for the site's development. We later livetweeted from meetings and presentations about the site's future, and we continue to keep our fingers on the pulse of this story as it continues because it matters to Erie and because we want what's best for our city, be that access to information, informed opinions, or a place to share ideas.
And although we're constantly driving and creating discussions and conversations online, we're proud to print each and every new issue we distribute; print journalism lies at the heart of our product – it always has, and it always will. Accordingly, we field a fine array of talented writers who cover all of the things you've come to expect from us over the last two years – arts, music, political commentary, humor, and, yes, news stories. News stories like this issue's cover story.
We love Erie. And as any fool will tell you, love isn't all courageous optimism; it has to contain criticism, or it's not love – it's merely patronizing boosterism. Accordingly, this issue's cover story is not all sunshine and rainbows. Although there may be a silver lining to it, the cover story is stormy, dark, and at times disturbing. The cover story contains adult language and graphic descriptions of violent events. And the cover story marks the longest piece – both in terms of length and time spent researching, reporting, writing, editing, revising, writing, editing, and laying out – we've printed to date.
When we first found out about the issues wrestled with in this story, we knew a long road lay ahead of us if we wanted to help tell this story. The path would be muddy from some of the storms, it'd be dark and at times disturbing, but if we traversed the trail, a trail none of us could ignore forever, we would all come out brighter, better off than when we stood in ignorance.
Sometimes we find the stories we tell. Sometimes they find us. This is a story about problems facing our nation, about problems facing people in our city; it's about loss, it's about hope. This story found us, and as your free, independent, alternative publication, we're proud to have embarked on the path of recording and relating it so that we may share it with you.