Newspaper Pledges A New Voice
The Prysms Weekly has proclaimed itself Columbia's second opinion newspaper. The paper has one reporter on staff, while the community writes the rest of the content. Associate Publisher Abraham Dyer says the idea of a citizen journalism paper is based on Thomas Jefferson's original idea of freedom of the press, which allows all people, not just journalists, free access to the press. He says that's exactly what this paper is all about. Not only does the paper give citizens a chance to write news, Dyer says it fills the void for people who want news from an unaffiliated source.
"We actually have no political slant," Dyer said. "We're not left-leaning. We're not right-leaning. We're simply community-leaning."
Bob Boldt is one of the many contributing writers to The Prysms. Boldt has made a career in television, from film to news, but now he's turning to print to get his message out to the community.
"The whole idea behind Prysms is to get a popular voice and to have the popular voice heard," Boldt said.
The publishers came up with this idea in March 2007, and in only four months, they put out the first issue. The paper prints 6,500 copies per week. It's free unless a person orders a subscription. 25% of the subscription fee is supposed to go to charity. The publishers are happy with the numbers so far and are optimistic about the future.
"Bottom line: The people know what they want covered, and they best know to tell their own story," Dyer said.
Dyer hopes the idea of citizen journalism catches on to other communities like Jefferson City. The Prysms' main goal is to have the public write 100% of the content.
Reuben Stern, the managing editor for The Missourian, said he doesn't believe The Missourian would lose readership with a new news source in town. He says the two newspapers have different missions and that more news and information out there is better for citizens.
Reported by Jessica Daley