Current Initiatives Founder Jason Sowell on the importance of alternative, independent journalism in Tampa Bay

'The beauty is that they care—about our uniqueness, our heartbeat, our community, our stories… your story.'

click to enlarge Current Initiatives Founder Jason Sowell on the importance of alternative, independent journalism in Tampa Bay
Photo via Jason Sowell

I recently re-watched “The Post” during this span of warped time and space where seemingly nothing matters, and it reminded me once again of the beauty of a local newspaper.

The feel of the paper.

The uniqueness of the local voice.

The heartbeat of a city and community that can be learned through the profiles and reporting of all that needs to be known.

The local stories of people, places, things and histories that may not have an outlet to tell it otherwise.

The importance of alternative, independent journalism.

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What a fantastic creation the newspaper is. A living document telling our collective story while time stamping it for future generations all wrapped up in artfully creative layout.

My relationship with Creative Loafing for the 20 years I’ve lived in Tampa Bay has been exactly that. I’ve learned and come to appreciate so much about our community over these years through its pages.

I’ve learned about amazing local artists creating beauty on our walls, in their hot shops, at their studios, through their camera lenses, in their homes. All of them finding ways to express their art and perfect their craft while CL came along and introduced me to their work.

I’ve discovered bands and attended shows that have been the soundtrack to memorable moments in my life because CL told me about them which allowed me to make lifelong friends in the process.

I’ve gained knowledge of local and state politics that informed my decisions in voting because CL asked the questions I needed answers to and interviewed the people I needed to hear from.

I’ve found much needed inspiration from people in my community doing work to make the world right because CL told their story.

And 12 years ago when I started my non-profit organization, Current Initiatives, CL eventually told my story as well.

As I sit here writing this I’m looking at a wall that hangs two Best of the Bay Awards along with photos of people long involved in my organization as a result of CL telling my story, and just like “The Post” did they remind me of the beauty of a local newspaper.

The beauty is that they care—about our uniqueness, our heartbeat, our community, our stories…

Your story.

It’s why I joined their Press Club and it’s why I believe you should too.

We should care. Because their story is our story. —Jason Sowell

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