The Louisville Paper, a monthly print publication that first hit newsstands two years ago, is ending production this summer. The last issue will be its 24th. It will come out in August.
“Our decision to stop producing The Paper came down to resources—time and money. Although we were always able to pay our print bills and our contributors, we were never able to make The Paper much more sustainable than that,” says editor and co-founder Stephanie Brothers.
The Paper rose in the wake of another publication’s demise. A round of layoffs at the Courier-Journal gutted the neighborhoods section and the weekly features publication Velocity (the name remains on the Friday features section, which, like its tabloid predecessor is still distributed for free apart from the paper). In the first issue, co-founder and creative director Matt Dobson wrote:
The catalyst for this new publication was the recent decision by the parent company of our city’s once great newspaper to again severely slash its staff. This time eliminating neighborhood coverage and most of its meaningful coverage of our local arts and culture. We have a vibrant arts scene here and the stories of the people and institutions that make the city come to life need to be told. The Paper will be a publication dedicated to the celebration of who we are. We will provide an insight to what makes our communities flourish and the histories behind our successes. We will be a conduit through which individual and communal ideas are shared. The Paper is going to be local. Locally owned. Local writers. Local focus and approach. It will be unique to our city and reflect what we find important. We will be active in our promotion and enhancement of the arts and our communities. We will be worth something—50 cents an issue, sure—but more than that, we give value to the things that make us uniquely us.
The 50 cent fee was eventually dropped. And over the coming months, the Paper’s design evolved, becoming more striking (and winning the award for best page design at this year’s Society of Professional Journalists: Louisville Chapter awards). Through this and regular writing on neighborhoods, music and the creative class (called Makers), the Paper seemingly fulfilled John Bracken’s “Print is the new vinyl” proclamation.
But now the Paper is ending.
“We both felt strongly that it was better for us to close with a big, beautiful final issue rather than struggle and fade away,” says Brothers. “By being proactive, we can pay tribute to the city that inspired us to make The Paper in the first place.
Brothers and Dobson both worked full-time jobs in addition to making The Paper.
“Even though we’re closing the book on this project, we had lots of fun and we would even venture to say we were pretty good at it. Rest assured, you will see bigger and better things from the people that made The Paper happen in the future,” she says.
And Brothers has this to say on the publication’s legacy:
We’re proud to be a part of Louisville’s long history of makers and do-it-yourself-ers. We had an idea and we went for it. It was hard and scary and amazing and fun.
We hope that The Paper has further proved that Louisville is a place where people can make good things happen. We hope that we illustrated that by creating The Paper and by sharing stories every month. We hope that these stories continue to be told – not just about the interesting things that happen around Louisville, but the interesting people that make things happen.
We think that our scrappy startup publication has helped change Louisville’s media landscape, even in a small way, for the better. We hope that The Paper has encouraged people to take chances and participate in their community.