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You Need to Know Something: The Future of The New Yinzer
A Note from Jennifer Meccariello

In January 2002, TNY co-founder David Madden and I, along with our friends B. Clifford, Margaret Emery, Rita Vitolo, Jim Strouse, and Robert Isenberg, published the first online issue of TNY. Remember that one? Dave talked to people about their haircuts. Margaret wrote a story about squirrels. Robert (we know him well enough to call him by his nickname, B.J.) reviewed the South Side’s “city steps.” Dave and I worked in PR during the day, so of course we sent out a release to the local papers. We sent emails to every person we knew and some we didn’t, posted to every email list we subscribed to (and were subsequently scolded), and asked our parents and family in far away locales to tell their friends.

It’s been two-and-a-half years since that first issue. The New Yinzer has been written about in most of the local papers—both by nice writers who like what we do and by sad, mean people who don’t. We’ve steadily increased our readership each month, expanded our writing base beyond that of our close friends, run a monthly reading series, installed a few art installations, and typed stories on demand about groceries and civil rights. We launched The New Yinzer on WRCT, our radio show—about to go weekly this September. We’ve had interns, hired exceptional people to help edit the magazine—Seth Madej, Margaret Emery, and Dave Griffith—and had one staff member disappear in the night, never to return.

But, publishing an online magazine is tough on your emotions. You never get to hold or touch what you’ve spent so much time on. You don’t get to sit on a bus way past your stop, just watching a stranger devour your work in their idle traveling time. Once, around Issue 5, I saw someone reading TNY on a computer in the Carnegie Library; I sat near him and watched, like a mother might watch a child sleeping, and had to pinch the inside of my arm to stop myself from asking him what they thought when he was finished.

Last February, we published a book, Pittsburgh Love Stories. In a wonderful, spaghetti-Western kind of way, it fulfills Dave's and my original dream for The New Yinzer. Print. Glorious bound pages of incredible writing, designed lovingly by a superstar designer, Brett Yasko, who liked us so much he decided to stay on and help. You can hold it in your hand. You can drop it in the mail. You can show it to your family as proof that you do something in this world worth doing. We want to do more of that.

So, this issue of the online magazine—Issue 36—will be our last. Which is not to say that The New Yinzer is shutting down, moving away, or crumpling upon itself. It simply means that, come mid-September, you’re going to see a new Web site that better serves the new things we'll be doing: Margaret will serve up delicious stories and poems—one per week—online. You’ll hear Seth and me on the radio every week. In November, we'll publish a new TNY anthology, Dirt. And Dave G. will head up a new idea we have: single author, short run books you can subscribe to. As in pay for and open your mailbox each month and receive. As in: Wow.

Please enjoy this issue of The New Yinzer. I’ve asked some of our old friends to contribute, and our editors are sharing their own work for the first time in a long while. The writing, photography, and artwork is amazing—something worth reading and enjoying in its entirety. While you’re at it, take a moment to browse through our archives to see how far we’ve come. There’s good stuff in there; The New Yinzer wouldn’t be what it is without the writers and artists who have contributed through the years, without pay, simply because they believed in what we were doing. For that, we are all extremely grateful.

Read this last issue with not an air of “The End,” but rather “This is the beginning.” And forgive us if we see you reading in some public place and sit behind your monitor to watch. It’s the last time we’ll be able to, at least like this.

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