I’m proud to share with you that on September 2nd, I celebrated my 10th year as your Publisher of The Waynedale News! And best yet, the newspaper celebrated its 87th anniversary, sealing another year of our community news into the history books. As one of the largest community newspapers in the area, we are honored to deliver our newspaper to over 35,000 readers throughout South/ Southwest Fort Wayne. But did you know that the newspaper’s legacy almost ended 10 years ago?
I remember it like it was yesterday, but it really was a long road to get to today. In 2009, a bright-eyed 22-year-old version of myself and business partner, Michael Alberico, fresh out of college, were determined to save the dying community newspaper. Waynedale was a sight much different than today. At that time you would see many vacant storefronts as you drove through the Lower Huntington and Bluffton Road business districts. The whole area looked depressed, and from talking to community members, it felt like people didn’t take much stock in the future of it either; as many would call their own neighborhoods names like ‘Waynetucky’ or worse. When talking with local politicians; they would infer that many other City representatives didn’t know that Waynedale was in fact part of the City of Fort Wayne and the City really didn’t take the community’s needs seriously either.
Mike and I both had some high-caliber job offers, but we were young, and I think in general we wanted our talents to be put towards something with a purpose, rather than a typical 8 to 5 career.
I felt that a newspaper should be more than just the news of the day and that people were becoming tired of headlining negative news for the sake of attracting readership. So, we set our sights on using the media outlet’s resources for good; to better connect neighbors in the area and to use its outreach to highlight all of the positive things going on in our community. And most of all the community needed to continue to see “Waynedale” on their doorsteps to help rejuvenate a strong sense of community.
We didn’t take a single paycheck for the first 8 months. However, putting in long 14-hour days for years, I continued to work hard to revamp interior systems in how our writers, editors, advertising sales and delivery staff worked together. There were certainly days (and even months) where we just couldn’t see how everything would turn out alright and we were tempted to quit altogether. But, Mike and I kept our faith that the community would ultimately benefit from our determination and support us in return. This job has never been high paying, but it has always been rewarding. Day by day, little by little, it began to improve. We finally began to grow our readership and staff members.
After 4 years of dedicated work, in May of 2013, Mike was married and decided to part ways with the newspaper so that he and his wife could pursue a different path.
All the while, outside of the regular duties of managing the funding, publishing and delivery of the newspaper, I was simultaneously working with other community members to create organizations, support events and lead projects that we hoped would help grow the community. A few months after we started running the paper, Beulah Matzak walked into our then, tiny office and asked if I had time to meet about the community. Of course I said “yes, that is what we are here for!” And that was the beginning of our involvement and leadership in just about all major community development. I was involved in or created almost every large free community event over the past 10 years, from Christmas In Waynedale to The Final Elmhurst Walkthrough to The Waynedale Community Picnic, and many in between. I helped to create organizations such as The Waynedale Community Improvement Team and The Waynedale Business Chamber; as well as became involved in many projects such as the Bluffton Road Sidewalks & Trails and The Waynedale Weather Siren. (You can see more about our work on waynedalenews.com/community.)
All of this work leads us to today, which is a time of great thanks to all of those who have supported and believed in me and The Waynedale News’ efforts, through thick and thin. I’d like to take a moment to thank our advertisers, sponsors, writers, delivery personnel and advertising sales staff. I’d like to especially thank my brother, Jordan Cornwell, whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with at the newspaper and within the community for the past 4 years. I’d like to also thank Megan Ryan for offering support and sticking by my side for the past 8 years. And also want to thank Ed and Mary Lou Fox, the newspaper’s distribution managers, for their years of dedication to the publication. I want to thank all of the friends I’ve made along the way, including Beulah Matzak and Camille Garrison, and many others, whom I’m thankful for having by my side in orchestrating the numerous community projects, events and initiatives throughout the years. And of course, I’d like to thank you, as a reader of The Waynedale News, for your continued support of our publication.
Since we are a free newspaper, our advertisers are the sole source of funding the huge cost to produce, print and distribute each edition. I think most people would be surprised by just how large the cost actually is for each resident to have the ability to pick up a Waynedale Newspaper from their doorstep or the closest business (our yearly cost is in the hundreds of thousands). As The Waynedale News continues to fight to have a presence in the digital (paper-less) world, we have many challenges with the rise of social media and other online advertising means. To ensure the newspaper continues to roll off the presses into your hands and to help us continue our community work, we need you, our readers’ help to supplement our current and future needs for funding.
On Monday, October 4th, we’ll be unveiling a fundraiser on our website and on Facebook with a limited-edition line of “Waynedale” branded items that you can receive as gifts when you donate to our community organization. And we hope you will also think to drop a few extra dollars into the donation boxes when you see one of our newspaper stands next time you are out and about.
So, if you enjoy the newspaper, please consider giving. If you feel our works in the community are making a positive impact, please consider giving. If you want to help ensure the future legacy of our 87-year-old community organization, please consider giving.
We truly appreciate any support you can give in appreciation of our service to the community. With your help, the funds that are raised will safeguard the longevity of the newspaper for many years to come. We look forward to continuing our work in the community!
Thank you for the past 10 years, Waynedale. Cheers to many more!
Editor & Publisher of
The Waynedale News