A refreshed StoryBoard Memphis returns to print

High Ground News correspondent Alexandria Moore found out about StoryBoard last year through High Ground’s Publisher and Community Engagement Manager, Emily Trenholm. She was thrilled to apply and be accepted into StoryBoard’s Behind the Scenes Storyteller's Workshop, which began meeting in October of 2021.

StoryBoard Memphis is back in print.

Readers can now access the local publication both online and in paper form. Quarterly editions cover local arts, history, culture, and community, presented through in-depth, long-form storytelling.

Only in cyberspace

Before this revival, StoryBoard was last printed in Nov. 2019. Complications around the pandemic the following year resulted in StoryBoard becoming an online-only publication.

“We had a monthly [print] newspaper at the time that was difficult to sustain,” said Founder and Executive Director Mark Fleischer.

Pandemic shutdowns led to the loss of many sponsors, advertisers, and subscribers—putting a damper on all their revenue streams. Small local businesses that sold StoryBoard had to shut down. It had also been distributed in Kroger stores, before the grocery chain stopped allowing distribution of free publications.

“Being a newer publication, we didn’t have the manpower or financial resources to keep moving forward in terms of print like other publications,” said Fleischer.

The StoryBoard team used the time to retool, focus on getting their nonprofit status, and adding strength to their website.

Restored, refreshed, revamped

In spite of everything, the goal was always to return to print. Now, they have—as a quarterly feature magazine for sale in select stores around Memphis and available as a subscription.

The publication’s name itself represents a work in progress. Fleischer said it’s not just about the product. He emphasized that “storyboard” is both a noun and a verb, a nod to the process behind telling a story.

Members of the StoryBoard team sometimes spend months with subjects to get more personal with them and really get behind stories.

“We wanted to give our readers a chance to sit down, slow down, and absorb a story,” Fleischer said. “Really giving folks a chance to become more intimate with a topic through storytelling.”

Level up

StoryBoard has several upcoming projects—including an archive exploration of Memphis’ longest operating store A. Schwab, the Metal Museum’s expansion into Rust Hall, and behind the scenes peeks at the Overton Shell’s 85 years of archives.

StoryBoard also has a television show in the works, based on their existing podcast. The show will air on a new channel on Roku called Memphis Centric.

Currently, StoryBoard is giving a six-month storytelling workshop called Behind the Arts. Ten correspondents were selected to learn about journalism from the inside, through the development of a multimedia story for StoryBoard.

Like StoryBoard’s audience and Memphis itself, the storytellers represent a range of backgrounds including college students, experienced poets, and a published author. Germantown Magazine’s managing editor, Candice Baxter, is a Behind the Arts participant who appreciates that diversity.

“We meet every couple of weeks, so building community with other locally published writers has been inspirational,” she said.

Baxter also mentioned enjoying the “good energy” at Arrow Creative, a collection of creative studios where the storytelling group meets. She also appreciates learning from the workshop’s guest speakers.

“It’s nice to know,” she said, “how they made it, what the industry was like years ago, and which principles will apply to the craft of storytelling no matter how much time passes.”
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Alexandria Moore is a healthcare professional and freelance writer. Moore is a resident of Orange Mound and graduate of the first High Ground News Community Correspondents program.