Come Write for the Bluegrass Beat
I’m looking for people who want to contribute guest posts to the Bluegrass Beat. The bad news is that I can’t pay you -- at least not yet. I’m looking into building some funding streams for this project, but for now, I don’t have a budget to pay people. I deeply believe in paying people for their work and that deep writing/thinking/ideas are generally undervalued in our culture. That said, we are where we are. I am sure you have read about some of the people making tons of money through charging subscriptions for their newsletters. There are probably some smart ways to allow people who like this work to support it and I am looking into those. That said, I am very interested in keeping this largely grounded in Louisville and Kentucky (which will limit the audience) and making sure the posts can reach as many people as possible of all financial means.
I can offer you something besides money. This is a forum to change and potentially improve Louisville and Kentucky. The audience for this newsletter is not huge but it includes a lot of people who have influential and powerful roles both in Louisville and Kentucky and across the country. And the potential audience itself is substantial--I personally have more Twitter followers than some local news outlets. My point is that an interesting idea or insight published here might end up being read by the people in the mayor’s office or who run a JCPS school and perhaps encourage them to change their thinking.
So here’s what I’m looking for:
1. Articles/columns/writings that look in some depth (1000 words or so) into an existing public policy problem in Louisville and perhaps offer some potential solutions. These would not need to be timely -- for example, it is always important to be thinking about how we reduce police shootings of civilians.
2. Articles that examine a solution happening in another place or maybe on a small-scale in Louisville to address some public policy challenge that can either be implemented or expanded here. (I deeply believe that all news/information can’t be negative all the time without creating cynicism. We need to read about what works too.) These would also not need to be timely.
3. Short takes (maybe even just 2-3 paragraphs) on big news events happening. For example, I would have loved to have published something smart on the potential firings of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s killing. Something like “Here’s What These Firings Mean For Sure” and “Here’s Why I Think They Happened Now.” (Only the mayor, the police chief and a few others really know, but informed speculation/conjecture is useful.)
My general approach in this forum is to aim for coverage that is evidence-based and power-balancing (so solutions that would empower citizens in dealing with the police more than those that empower the officers, who have guns when you interact with them in person and a massive apparatus defending their actions.)
I am open to topics I have not thought of, but I think the ones that make the most sense for Louisville are:
Policing/law enforcement/criminal justice
Economics (wages, pay and benefits for individuals, job growth/decline for the city)
Education, both K-12 and colleges
Governance (I think the evidence from other communities is that police task forces don’t really result in meaningful changes that help black people in their interactions with the police, but that’s a question of governance. The Louisville/Jefferson County merger was a governance issue, etc)
The Mayoral/City Council Elections
And then in terms of things happening in the state:
The Doings of The State Legislature
The Doings of The Governor’s Office
So I encourage you to think about whether you might be a contributor or one of your friends might be. The ideal contributor is probably not your friend with the most opinions, but your friend who has some specialized knowledge in one of the areas I listed above. I assume contributors would live in Louisville or Kentucky, but perhaps you recently moved but have a lot of real knowledge in one of these areas. Perhaps you were once a reporter in one of these areas. I think the most important potential contributors are people who work in these sectors right now. I will be open to people who want to write anonymously in this forum, if they have relevant experience and knowledge. A person who works at Norton or Humana may not be allowed to write publicly, particularly if she disagrees with something the company is doing. But that person might have a lot of knowledge and want to push the company to do something that is power-balancing (so it helps low-income patients but maybe reduces the company’s revenues slightly.)
If this interests you, reach out to me (perrylbacon@gmail) and we can discuss it. Please don’t email me and volunteer someone else. You can email that person and they can reach out to me too of course. Alternatively, if some big event happens, just write your 2-3 paragraphs and send them to me. Often, people don’t know they have strong feelings and real insight on a subject until an event happens and then that insight and passion emerges.
Thanks for reading. You can subscribe to this newsletter here.