Last week I met Eric Crump. He’s the “Editor, etc.” (so says his business card) of a new local newspaper in a nearby suburb—the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle.
He started the Chronicle himself less than a year ago. because “a great community deserves a great newspaper.” Eric felt that our existing local newspapers—which give thin coverage to a wide swath of small towns as well as the major metropolis we are suburbs of—could not possibly do justice to all the smaller stories that are part of the Homewood-Flossmoor community. Gradually he added a couple other writers who share his vision, and together they publish 80–90 stories each month.
Eric’s not looking for big circulation numbers; he’s looking to serve just the small town where he lives. He doesn’t want wide coverage; he’d rather go deeper—on fewer stories if necessary
Sure, he’ll include the local high school basketball games, just like the bigger papers do. But he’ll also seek out stories about the Chess Club, and the Speech Team, and the Scholastic Bowl. And he’ll cover the local Rotary Club, the new Portillo’s, and the grand opening of Paintertaining.
So Eric spends his days in conversation with parents and students, business owners and local shoppers, village officials and substitute teachers, politicians and church leaders, pet lovers and chocolate lovers. He listens and asks questions and takes notes. Then he writes an article or a feature story or an opinion piece to share his findings with his neighbors and friends. Eric believes these small stories can have a big effect on community.
I think he’s right.
If you agree…
You can sign up to receive daily email notifications from the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle. Each email contains links to all the new stories posted that day.
But Eric’s real dream is for the Chronicle to become a printed newspaper. While most of the big papers are reducing print runs in favor of digital subscriptions, Eric knows that many readers in his small town are more comfortable with paper than pixels. If he can work out the business model, he’ll fill that niche. Interesting, huh?
By the way, I met Eric because he expressed an interest in Common Ground, the cross-cultural relationship-building program I’m part of. He learned about Common Ground from a participant who also happens to be active in a local school that Eric wrote a story about. She connected Eric with me, and I invited Jason Perry to join us. Jason is a Flossmoor resident and fellow Common Ground participant.
The three of us met at Civilitea Gardens, a local small business that had just opened a few months previous. It was a perfect setting for our conversation—because Civilitea also seems to want to build community in their community, like Eric does. They provide a Mayberry-like setting where conversation comes easily. The owners will tell you everything you want to know about teas and herbs and natural ingredients, and then they’ll let you sit at a little table next to a bright window looking out at the foot traffic and bicycles, sipping tea for as long as you want.
So consider this my personal endorsement of the Chronicle, of Civilitea Gardens, and of community-building in general. Grab a fellow human and spend an hour sharing your stories over a cup of premium tea.
And if you’re worried you won’t have anything to talk about, read the latest community news from the Chronicle before you head out the door!