Reaching readers through the web

Intended impact of NorFilly™ Online Magazine
By T Martin

It isn’t any secret that I’ve wanted to produce a magazine for some time; since early childhood I dreamt of doing something like this, and only now am I able to provide this means for young leaders to get their message out to their peers about how they too can rise above circumstances to succeed. What do I hope comes of it? That others will see in one fulfilled dream the hope that theirs can come true… by their own enthusiasm, dedication and commitment. Yet, as early as the idea stage for this new magazine, I’ve been asked questions that tested my faith in its existence and its future. I hope that this answers most of those questions as well as incites some even more thought-provoking ones for the future.

“Why offer it just on the web?” There are some financial and logistical benefits to offering this magazine only on the web at this time. Right now we can forego printing costs. The online magazine also requires less time in page layout and design. Also, publishing corrections is as simple as changing the page and replacing the old one on the web. We have been talking plans about distributing a printed magazine within a year, however. The web currently offers us worldwide readership with easy feedback conveyance and versatile editing options.

“How can the magazine really help the community?” My simple response to this question is that the magazine can only help the community as much as the community supports the project. The more effort community members and youths put into the articles and columns of this magazine, the deeper the influence we can hope this publication has on your youths.

“What will this magazine be about?” This one is a bit trickier. Because the magazine evolved from the “Tips & Hints Newsletter,” the only two topics covered were photography and amateur modeling, both based on the lessons learned throughout the former Model Citizens program. Later, however, additional topics were added to help round out the overall experience this kind of publication could offer. Our target audience: teens and young adults of North Philadelphia. Areas of need: community service, volunteerism, education… Areas of interest: fashion, cosmetology, sports, music, technology… What will the magazine be about? The youth experience in North Philadelphia; the teens and young adults for whom the publication is written; the youth success stories that get overlooked in mainstream media; the news and events that we hope will inspire youths to succeed.

“Who’s going to pay for this?” I am pleased to work with a small group of enthusiastic writers willing to volunteer their skills and service to this project. Because of their efforts and willingness to serve their community in this fashion, the magazine itself becomes a labor of love, a community service project that North Philadelphia can be proud of. In time, we hope to obtain sponsors for various areas of the magazine, but for now we are satisfied with the contributions of Martin Picturesque, the sponsoring company that makes this and other projects happen in the community. When we attain our goal of publishing this as a self-sustaining magazine, we intend to reward those that worked to help us reach that point. They are the ones really paying for this project, in one way or another, and North Philadelphia should remain grateful to them for it.

This project combines the efforts made in two different programs sponsored by Martin Picturesque. One is the Model Citizens program in which participants received free or discount photography services in exchange for community service. The other is Creative Writers, where students as young as 11 or 12 could share their writing with their peers and see their work published on a website designated for their artistry. We continue to hope that North Philadelphia embraces this magazine as it did both of those programs that served their children for the last five years!