Not My Father’s LEO

One score and five years ago, my father founded the Louisville Eccentric Observer. I was seven-ish. Four years ago, Congressman John Yarmuth began a 20th-birthday commemorative article as follows: “One score, five offices and two logos ago, this father brought forth upon our community a new medium, conceived in innocence and dedicated to the proposition that no idea is too weird to discuss in print… OK, enough of that.” 

I agree, save for the conceived in innocence part – “mischief” would be a more apt description if you ask me. 
 
That said, I do not know what life is like without LEO, and I sure as hell don’t know what Louisville is, if not Eccentric. 
 
Yet this is not about me, nor my father. This crazy endeavor upon which we are about to embark is about the community that has embraced Eccentric as a lifestyle. 
 
In the following pages we will continue to be the local authority in all things Louisville. An unofficial documentation of both natural and unnatural thoughts and opinions. A resource for ostensibly-sophisticated intellectuals, self-proclaimed hippies, and normal oxygen-breathing humans. A medium for big words that mean nothing, and small words that can alter the course of a community. My promise to you is that we will work as hard as possible to be unpredictable, uncomfortable, and well… Eccentric.
 
For starters, I’ve asked my favorite conservative if he would be interested in lending his voice to this “liberal” rag. Hint: My dad used to engage with him in dynamic debate, and it is not Mandy Connell. 
 
You will still see News of the Weird, and we’ll give you some Staff Picks, but that will be about the extent of predictability. That, and shedding a light on all things repugnant about Mitch McConnell. 
 
As for candor… I got your candor right here. We all know times are tough in the world of print journalism. LEO is no exception, as it has been losing money for years. So leave it to me to consider this the time to invest in a magazine. 
 
Here is what I’m thinking: A free, alternative-weekly publication is great for casual consumption but not great for business. And when your material comes out once a week, other media outlets have had six more days of reaching you— also not great for business. And the definition of insanity is what?
 
As I see it, all modern media are competing for your attention. This includes the New York Times, Courier, Huffington Post, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, ABC, NBC, CBS, ESPN, and yes, LEO, all competing in the same arena for your attention. Sure, each outlet plays its own game, or has its own style. But at their core, they are all a battling for your attention. 
 
I fully intend for LEO to play in that arena. 
 
At this moment, we are embarking on a 22-week plan to relaunch LEO. This will be a phased approach that will tackle everything from logo, layout, content, and a strengthened digital presence. Everything we do will be with our readers at heart, as the initial phase will entail a comprehensive market-research study. Ultimately, we will have a new website equipped with mobile tools and accessibility, content that will be new, meaningful, and relevant to our daily lives — not weekly — and provide interactive capabilities that will allow all of Louisville to contribute, participate, and engage with all things Eccentric.
 
A friend of mine recently told me that he loves LEO, and he loves progressivism, but that progressive without viability is counterproductive. In other words, I love the progressive voice LEO provides, but if the platform for that progressive voice isn’t a good enough business to support itself, then it undermines the entire progressive mission. 
 
This is not to echo Gordon Gecko’s proclamation that “Greed is good.”  We need to make these changes in order to support the platform, and continue to be a voice of, by and for the people of this community.
 
So what should you expect from me… who the hell knows? But that is just part of the fun!
 
My dad wrote about politics, Louisville Basketball, and me. I love politics, and am not short on opinions. I love sports, food, entertainment, people, and this community – perhaps I can bring a new generation’s perspective to these and other subjects. 
 
Other than that, I would simply like to express my commitment to building/rebuilding your faith and enthusiasm for something I consider to be part of my family. I do not take this challenge lightly. My dad was/is a generationally brilliant mind, and his ability to communicate a message nigh unparalleled. If I can become half of the writer he was, I will be satisfied, and you will be entertained. I consider myself honored to even find myself in the spot he once held. 
 
So I guess all I can ask is that you be patient with me, this paper, and let me know how I am screwing up.