Glenn Burkins the owner, founder, and publisher of Qcitymetro knew what his life had in store while studying journalism in college. He figured he would spend his entire career at one paper. As his career progressed though, he would get the opportunity to live out his boyhood dream of traveling the world but would give it all up for nothing more than a dream. The dream of starting his own hyperlocal journalism site for the African American community in Charlotte.
It wasn’t until the growth of hyperlocal journalism began that Glenn saw his new path. Glenn noticed that this newly popular form of journalism was leaving the African American community behind, but he put it on the back burner.
Qcitymetro was created in 2008. The site wasn’t perfect. Burkins tells of difficulties, not being able to make changes himself and being charged ridiculous fees by a software company whenever he would call for help. Glenn has also begun to see the challenges of being the boss.
Glenn wears three hats at Qcitymetro, editor, publisher, and marketing director. At the end of the month, he explains, he can tell which he has focused on by looking at his finances. He wishes there was a way to find a balance, other than adding more hours to the day that is.
One of the hardest things Glenn says about running his own business is having to separate his work and free time. Glenn works out of his house. He explained that this a challenge he had never thought of. When he worked at The Charlotte Observer, for example, he would drive to his office at the beginning of the day and be able to turn off the lights and drive home when the work day was over. He had done it for so long it had become second nature, something he didn’t even realize the importance of. Now Glenn tells us he isn’t able to off the “turn off the lights” anymore. He’s always thinking about Qcitymetro, and he’s starting to realize how frustrating that can be.
When looking at the site itself Qcitymetro is easy to navigate and very clean. The home page looks like you would expect of a news organization’s website to look. Clean, simple, with the newest and most newsworthy headlines taking center stage. One of my favorite parts though is how engaged Burkins tries to be with his community. Qcitymetro allows local organizations to advertise their events with them. They actually keep a running calendar and allow organizations to submit their events for approval recognizing that it takes time to plan something, but you might just need a little bit of help with advertising.
Glenn might have given up the world, but he’s proud of what he’s doing. His site is growing and constantly changing. He told us that he has several ideas floating around on what his next step will be, but he has to make sure that the ground is solid enough before he takes it.