In the midst of all the reminiscing, celebrating and self-congratulating surrounding this 20-year milestone, LEO thought it might be worth reaching out to the good people of Louisville to gauge what they think of the product we put out each week. After all, we do it for you (and because it’s just about the most fun job a journalist could have). Opening the door to criticism is a gamble, but it proved worth it in the end — the feedback we gathered was thoughtful, constructive and flattering, albeit a touch random at times. We asked these questions:
1. What advice do you have for LEO?
2. What would you give LEO for its 20th birthday?
Jaison Gardner, Old Louisville
Server at Lynn’s Paradise Café
1. My nana used to say that what’s right is not always popular and what’s popular isn’t always right. Keep doing the right thing by covering the issues, stories and people that the popular press ignores. And keep speaking truth to power.
2. Larger readership.
Steve Magruder, Auburndale
Freelance Web Programmer
1. Keep hitting the “newspaper of record” with the alternative — looking at all sides of an issue and not being beholden to the River Fields, East End power clique.
2. A Golden Nutsack Award, in place of the Pulitzer you should have received for “Burned bridge” (LEO Weekly, Nov. 11, 2009).
Robin Fischer, Norwood
Producer of WFPL’s “State of Affairs”
1. Stay alternative!
2. A big noogie.
Matthew Landan, Downtown
Owner of Derby City Espresso, Velocity Columnist
1. Flee to Honduras before it’s too late.
2. Lawyers, guns and money.
Tom Owen, Highlands
Metro Council President, U of L Archivist
1. The first thing that comes to mind is stay edgy. I’m a stream-of-consciousness kind of guy, you know. I’m a clipper of LEO and have a permanent collection in the University of Louisville archives. I just put two in this week.
2. I’d get you guys whatever would prolong your life. What would that be? I know, a lifetime prescription of Viagra!
Jason Absher, Clifton
Speed Engineering School Student
1. Don’t get old.
2. A wildebeest.
Shawn Gardner, Russell
Executive Director of 2Not1
1. Continue to inspire readers to greatness, motivate readers to get involved, and educate readers to the full story.
2. More readers — everybody needs to read the LEO.
Nicholas Hart, Highlands
Co-founder of Backseat Sandbar
1. Lead. Don’t follow. Dictate where you want to see Louisville go, and don’t just report for the majority. People rely on/are influenced by you more than you think.
2. Will Oldham’s complete discography. It’s about 50 records with a ton of singles on top of that. I’m about halfway there, so look for a bow on your doorstep on your 40th.
Laura Shine, Clifton
Host and Assistant Program Director at WFPK
1. Never deep fat fry in the nude.
2. A deep fat fryer. (Congratulations on an amazing 20 years! You guys rule!)
Angie Fenton, Irish Hill
Writer at The Voice Tribune
1. Absolutely none. You don’t celebrate a 20th without already being wise.
2. You mean aside from fashion advice, the red carpet treatment or my address, since I hope to be invited to your 21st birthday bash? I’d give you a hug, LEO, and a handwritten thank-you note … Not only am I continually inspired by the quality of writing and reporting — and often entertained by the acerbic wit that seems to be an inherent trait of all of your writers, past and present — but I appreciate the type of stories you tell …
Carol Besse, Highlands
Co-owner of Carmichael’s Bookstore
1. As traditional newspapers continue to decline in both coverage and readership, locally focused weeklies like LEO become ever more critical to keeping the public informed. Please keep devoting resources to investigative reporting, challenging the powers-that-be in our community, and providing a forum for diverse voices to be heard in Louisville.
2. A major endowment (if I could!) to keep up the good work.
John Dant, Hikes Point
Owner of the Back Door
1. “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” —Albert Einstein
2. An open bar with Marianne serving you the best drinks in town. Don’t think she would like her tab, though.
Ron Whitehead, Louisville
Zen Outlaw Viking Hillbilly Gypsy Poet
1. Never give up.
2. Unconditional love and encouragement to keep up the great work and, regardless of how many times you fail, to always pick yourselves back up, admit your mistakes, and forever be bearers of honesty and truth.
Will Russell, Butchertown
Proprietor of WHY Louisville
1. You can’t please everyone, all the time.
2. Twenty spankings.
Rebecca Cornwell, Highlands
Store Manager at ear X-tacy
1. Don’t lose character, and keep it weird! Continue to support all things local with real information, and remember to have a little fun.
2. Lots of new music and a million bubbles, then we’d all have a huge party in the street!
Gill Holland, Highlands
Owner of Green Building, Film Producer
1. Have a daily e-mail that goes out to subscribers (or for folks that sign up) so each of your critics picks get sent out on the day they happen, along with other listings.
2. I would give LEO a forest of sustainably grown trees to grind up and use for the weekly printed copy as well as some solar panels to offset the energy used by the folks who just read it online.
David Morse, Highlands
CART Board Member
1. LEO spends a lot of time screaming into the wind. The effects of this are not immediately apparent, but I think they do have an effect. It’s not so much that you write a story one day and see social change the next day. It’s more a punctuated equilibrium. Look at Yarmuth — running the paper for so many years, then one day: bam! House of Representatives … Having an independent media channel that can examine issues in depth allows a level of discourse we don’t otherwise get. So keep it up.
2. Tyler Allen, in lingerie, with a rose clutched in his teeth.
Kathryn Hogg, Highlands
Women and Gender Studies Student
1. Don’t get any tattoos until you turn 25. Your brain isn’t fully developed until around then.
Sarah Smith, Highlands
Dot Fox Clothing
1. Continue on the path that you all are already on. You have a good thing going, and I wouldn’t try to mess with it too much. You all do a good job of covering a wide range of topics so that every reader has something to be interested in each issue. Outside of the paper, I would love to see LEO getting more involved in sponsoring and hosting more events around town … If I would suggest anything new to be added to the paper, it would be an “Adopt Me!” column featuring a local cat and/or dog up for adoption.
2. For LEO’s birthday, I would give all of the members of the staff a vacation of their choice to relax and enjoy some well-deserved time off.
Marc Masterson, Highlands
Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville
1. Informed opinion matters more than ever.
2. Theater tickets!