Miller helps put CY news in print, online

Not many communities can boast of having their own newspaper. Like its public art, easy walkability, and unique residents, your neighborhood LampLighter is one of the things that make Cooper-Young singular. It is funded by your Cooper-Young Community Association membership as well as CYCA fundraisers, and it is the result of a huge monthly effort of the Cooper-Young Community Association’s Communications Committee, chaired by Patrick Miller. In addition to publishing and distributing the LampLighter newspaper, the CYCA Communications Committee also manages the CYCA website (cooperyoung.org), LampLighter’s website (lamplighter.cooperyoung.org), and several event websites like those for the annual Art for Art’s Sake Auction and the annual Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest.

Patrick Miller has been involved in the CYCA Communications Committee for about five years. Shortly after becoming a Cooper-Young resident, he noticed that the community association’s website was showing its age. Bringing the site up to date and maintaining it is in line with his day job, so Patrick volunteered to do just that. He completely rebuilt the aging site with more modern methods and moved everything to a content management system that would allow the content to be more easily updated and refreshed. In the years that followed, he has used the same guiding principle of providing ease of maintenance and ease of update to bring the sites for LampLighter, Art for Art’s Sake Auction, and the Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest online. In 2012, Patrick joined the CYCA Board of Directors and subsequently moved into the position of Chairman for the Communications Committee to which he’d already provided so much time and effort. Thanks in part to Patrick’s hard work and leadership, the CYCA and LampLighter websites now average between 2,500 and 3,000 unique visits per month.

Asked the function of the Communications Committee, Patrick responded, “The Communications Committee works with the CYCA board to help direct and provide for the voice of the CYCA within the community, provide vehicles for communication from the community back to the CYCA, and provide channels for communicating news and events to the community and the greater Memphis community.”  Without the Communications Committee, the CYCA could not be as effective at getting information to you about neighborhood events, safety issues, business and restaurant openings and closings, lost and found pets, or important infrastructure issues like bike lanes and parking garages.  And the same channels — online forums, emails, surveys, etc. — provide a way for you to communicate with the CYCA to provide input on issues affecting Cooper-Young or to provide feedback regarding CYCA activities and actions. Pretty important stuff!

Are you interested in being a “doer,” someone who not only sees the value in these critical channels of communication but also takes action and contributes to them? While the Communications Committee is not large, there are still opportunities to contribute. Patrick noted, “We can always benefit from anyone comfortable with newspaper or online communications to help us improve our services. The LampLighter newspaper represents an opportunity for volunteerism every month. We are currently looking for folks interested in providing monthly recurring columns, and the online version of the paper has an opportunity for blog content right now, either a recurring single blogger with a theme related to our community, or multiple bloggers sharing the spot.”  Not technically savvy? Not a writer? You can still help by distributing the paper to homes on your block or to businesses near the neighborhood. Each month, 4,000 copies of the LampLighter newspaper are printed. In the fall, 6,500 copies are printed for the weekend of the Cooper-Young Festival (hosted by the Cooper-Young Business Association). The monthly papers are distributed to approximately 1,700 homes in our community and nearly every local business with walk-in traffic — by volunteers.  Email info@cooperyoung.org or call the CYCA office for information on volunteering.

But maybe you don’t have time to volunteer even once per month. As previously noted, the newspaper and other methods of communication are funded by CYCA fundraisers and by CYCA memberships and donations.  For those who feel they don’t have time they can donate, the good news is that your fiscal contributions are important, too. According to Patrick, the Communications Committee will be spending 2013 CYCA funds on paying for editing and layout of the LampLighter, on the website and email infrastructure monthly hosting and maintenance fees, and on the Internet domain name fees for cooperyoung.org. This year, a part of the budget will also be spent on a website refresh.

If you think the neighborhood newspaper and websites are important, you can help make it happen by joining the Cooper-Young Community Association. Just fill out the form in this newspaper, stop by our offices at 2298 Young Ave., telephone our executive director at 901-272-CYCA (2922), or join online at cooperyoung.org … courtesy of to the Communications Committee. While you’re there, there’s an opportunity to become a LampLighter benefactor for just $5 per month. You’ll be recognized as one of the generous donors who help maintain the quality and frequency of this special part of Cooper-Young.

And if you see him around the neighborhood, offer a big thank-you to Patrick and his committee. They truly help to make Cooper-Young a more desirable place to live, worship, work, and play!

–          Renee Massey

Author: LampLighter

The voice of Cooper-Young, a vibrant, diverse neighborhood to live, work and play, in the heart of Midtown Memphis, Tennessee.

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