11-Year-Old Entrepreneur Celebrates 200th Edition Of His Newspaper
The local paper has been struggling for some time now. Gannett announced last month that it was installing a pay wall on its 82 daily papers. The Journal Register Company, which publishes over 150 newspapers in the Northeast, filed for bankruptcy in 2009. But one local paper in south Boulder just celebrated its fifth birthday and 200th edition with nothing but good news. Its revolutionary model was pioneered by a 6-year-old.
Eli Boardman is now 11, and is still editor-in-chief, reporter, illustrator, salesman and delivery boy. While many entrepreneurs have launched local news sites, hoping to create that slippery buzzword "community," Boardman has actually done it with the The Boardman Camera. Because he genuinely wanted to get to know more about his neighbors.
"He said, 'We see them all the time, and we don't know who they are, and I want to know them better," Boardman's mom, Karen, told The Daily Camera (which is not affiliated to Boardman's titularly similar rag). "He said, 'I want to build community.' "
Boardman writes about local businesses, nonprofits, and neighborhood characters, such as a photojournalist who frequents Antarctica and a World War II pilot, as well as his family's travels and the nature he sees on his daily walks. The paper has a weekly distribution of a little over 220. Boardman delivers 65 copies by foot, 10 by car, eight by mail and 140 by email.
"He succeeded," Laura Backus, a neighbor and longtime reader told The Daily Camera. "I think he has made a difference in this neighborhood and people knowing each other."
That's something media moguls have been trying to do for a while. But it probably helps when you don't need to worry about salaries or health insurance.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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