A message from Scalawag's Executive Director-Publisher, Cierra:
When I took the helm at Scalawag nearly two years ago, our organization was in a hard place. We were struggling to make the transition from cool project to sustainable news organization. I was our third publisher in as many years, revenue trickled in at a pace far slower than our expenses accumulated, and our tireless team was rattled by all we had persevered through to keep Scalawag around. To top it all off our feature product, our print magazine, was costing us more than we made from it. Like I said, hard place. The thought of shutting it all down seemed like a solution at several points, but we wouldn’t consider it. That’s because of one thing we’ve been super successful at all along: being Southerners telling the story of our home our way. What’s more, in the process of getting really good at telling authentic, inclusive, vibrant Southern stories, we also built an amazing community with all of you; we think that ought to be enough to keep anyone around.
Thank you. Even if you weren’t aware that our operation was imperfect, you stuck with us in the struggle. You subscribed, resubscribed, told your friends to subscribe; some of y’all even gave the magazine as a gift. You continued supporting us time and time again—sincerely, thank you. Together, we’ve told the stories of the South in a way they had never been but deserved to be told. We talked about growing up queer in Appalachia with a nuance that held both queerness and Appalachia. And confronted the truth about what happens when Black Southernerness encounters whiteness, Southern and not. We were ourselves together; Southern and: Black, brown, white, queer, poor, working class, living in the South and out of it.
If ever there was a saying that proved itself true it’s that change is inevitable. Sometimes in change, you have let go of the old to bring in the new. That’s my way of saying we’ve made the difficult decision to sunset our print magazine. Now that we are on surer footing (again, thank you) and have some space to dream big, we know it’s time. Scalawag was founded to fill a crucial gap in the stories we hear and tell about the South. That need still remains. While we love the print magazine just as much as so many of you do, we want Scalawag to not only be an organization that tells untold and undertold Southern stories, but a media organization that leverages storytelling, journalism, arts, and most importantly community as we work to create a more just South—together. Y’all have proven to us that our impact can—and should—reach far beyond the limitations of a beautiful piece of paper.
So far, we’ve been making all of this happen with less than $250,000 a year. Where I’m from that’s a lot of money—but when you’re running a business, it’s not. We’ve made it work, but we want to see Scalawag grow. Hopefully you do too. That’s why we want you to join us as we continue to reimagine what it looks like to better tell the stories of the place we call home and have those stories reach a wider audience than ever before.
If you’re ready to throw down with us as we build the future of Southern journalism (heck, maybe the future of journalism, period) you can become a member of Scalawag. Membership starts at $5 a month, comes with some fantastic perks, and affirms your commitment to this community. And after you join, tell your daddy, your auntie, your cousins, and all the rest of your kin to join too. We’re stronger when we are in community together and Lord knows the South is better for it.
Scalawag has solidified its standing as a trusted media source about the South—and thanks to y’all we're not going anywhere. We could not have made it to this point without you and we can’t go on without you either. So, become a member of Scalawag today, and as always: stay Southern, y’all!