Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Ludlow residents revive community journalism

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        LUDLOW — A group of residents here are convinced people want to read about golf outings and preparing kids to return to school on the front page of their newspaper.

        That's why the 31 volunteers who produce and deliver the Ludlow Community Connection to every household and business in the Kenton County river city of 4,500 decided to renew a tradition of community journalism earlier this year after a five-year hiatus.

        Published since May, the Connection, a free, nearly 3,000-circulation monthly, fills an oft-ignored niche.

        “This is a positive newspaper,” said City Councilwoman Cindy Schachere, the paper's circulation manager. “There are no editorials.”

        Community journalism here dates to 1936 when a former Kentucky state senator, the late Gus Sheehan, started the Ludlow Enter prise. Former Recorder Newspapers owner Gene Clabes and former Covington school board member Diana Taliaferro ran it from 1988 to 1991.

        In addition, Mike and Gayle Curd of Edgewood ran the now-defunct River City News from 1991 to 1996.

        In the Connection, readers find items on the “little news” local residents discuss the most:

        • A report on the annual Ludlow High School alumni basketball tournament, the August issue's lead story.

        • Colleen Epperson's account of a charity golf tournament she attended with Survivor star Rodger Bingham.

        • Notice of a street fair in Bromley.

        “We do it because we feel it brings the community together,” said Stephanie Helmer, a part-time reservation agent for Delta Airlines, a free-lance graphic designer and news editor at the Connection. “It's people, places and things.”

        The Connection started with eight pages and has expanded to 12. Ms. Schachere said 12 people type in their own articles and submissions from residents, while Ms. Helmer designs and lays out each issue.

        When the papers come back from the printer, staff members meet at Sts. James and Boniface Church on Oak Street the fourth Tuesday of each month, grab their bundles and throw papers to every yard in the city.

        “You go down one side of the street, and when you go up the other, (the papers) are being read,” she said. “That (feels) so good.”

        Ms. Schachere admits the Connection may never write about a murder or robbery or rape. She doesn't mind.

        “That stuff,” she said, “we leave for the big papers.”

        To order a subscription — $1.50 per issue — write Ludlow Community Connection, 225 Elm St., Ludlow, KY 41016.


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