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Press Forward 2016

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Since launching in March 2015, the Knoxville Mercury  has become an award-winning journalism enterprise. 

We’ve made a sizable impact on the local media landscape. Beyond our unmatched arts and entertainment coverage and criticism, we go into depth about local issues that truly matter: We broke the news  of a Walmart developer’s plans to demolish one of the most historic houses in North Knoxville. We exposed a plan  to sell the Knoxville College campus to a developer—without public disclosure. We showed  how guidelines for hilltop development are virtually ignored by Knox County government. We brought to light  accusations that Knox County Schools’ sex-education presentations create shame and fear rather than an informed student body.

But please don’t take us for granted. In our second year, we must build on our achievements by ensuring the Mercury’s sustainability as an ongoing business. 

We have a unique ownership structure: The Knoxville History Project , a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization dedicated to researching, promoting, and celebrating Knoxville’s cultural heritage and history, is the “sole member,” the equivalent of the owner, of the Knoxville Mercury. Any profits from the Mercury go not to enrich any owner or investor, but to support the educational programs of the Knoxville History Project.

And we’re on our way to sustained profitability. But we still need you to get involved and ensure that Knoxville’s independent news source thrives and helps build the community we all want to see. Here are some of our plans for the next few months:

Expand our sales team. We have exactly two sales executives for more than 200 clients. That’s simply too much work for only two people. We need another salaried sales person who’s got the experience and the passion to help us expand our client base. 

Hire a development director. Our original budget plan for publishing the paper included significant public and foundation support. We believe there’s potentially a lot more financial support to be found if we had one person whose sole responsibility is to develop it.

Increase our distribution. The Knoxville Mercury currently has about 300 drop-off points in Knox, Blount, and Anderson counties, with a distribution of 25,000 copies. Most of them get picked up and read. But we need more public visibility in more locations. (You can find a map of our newsstands here .) 

Hire an assistant art director. Part of our plan to increase ad sales is to add more special publications and issues like Get Out and Play or our Top Knox readers’ poll. Those sorts of endeavors require a lot of extra effort on top of producing a weekly paper. 

We are passionate about this, but we need your help to create the paper you want and deserve. Between April 21 and May 20, we're running a fundraising campaign to support these immediate goals. Our overall goal is $100,000—$50,000 through GoFundMe and $50,000 through new advertising and donations to the Knoxville History Project. (For more info on advertising, email [email redacted] or call [phone redacted]. For more info on tax-deductible donations to KHP, go here .)

If you appreciate anything the Knoxville Mercury has published, or if you feel that having an independent voice in Knoxville is important, then now is the time to show your support!


Matthew Everett
Knoxville, TN

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