Mark Kelly, publisher of Weld for Birmingham, is the guest for episode 13 of Birmingham Shines.
If you’re in Birmingham, you know Mark as a writer and voice for change in Birmingham and in Alabama.
In today’s show we talk a little bit about the founding of Weld for Birmingham, but our main focus is a conversation about bigger questions like the role of journalism, change that is sparked by grassroots efforts of “we the people,” the importance of hope, challenges in education, poverty and how poverty hampers economic growth and educational opportunity, and the importance of having a vision and then going after that vision.
Mark and I have a history dating back to the very early 70s when we were kids in elementary school.
Back in January (2015), I wrote a blog post about 10 people who influenced my life. These weren’t necessarily the MOST influential people in my life but the list was about 10 people who really made a difference in some way.
Mark Kelly was the one person from my peer group who made the list. And he made it because having Mark in my life during those formative years as a tween and a teen sort of forced me, at least in a subconscious way (I think) to step up my game in terms of ambition, intellectual development, and breadth of interests.
Mark and I weren’t rivals or directly competitive but we had conversations that went well beyond the typical teen stuff. I feel like I should give a shout out to Joey Johnson who was also often part of those conversations and debate.
Mark and I both loved the comedian Steve Martin, Saturday Night Live, The Far Side comics. And I credit Mark Kelly with introducing me to the music of Beatles.
I already knew of the Beatles before, of course, but in high school Mark made me a cassette of Beatles music that I hadn’t heard before--the Beatles catalog, beyond the hits that everyone knew.
That sampler clued me in on how and why the Beatles basically defined the future of popular music. I wore that tape out in college and eventually ended up with the entire Beatles catalog on CD.
I close the show with these questions:
For some it may simply be raising your kids in the best way you can. Parenting is the most important calling and responsibility of all.
For others, you may have a vision and a calling and be working to make that vision real.
Whatever it is you’re trying to do, I hope it’s intentional and I hope you’re willing to leave your all on the field so that when the game is over you gave it your best shot.
And regardless of your mission or vocation or avocation keep this in mind:
We’re here to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and spirit and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
It starts and ends with love.
Love is all you need.
That Beatles reference wasn't planned when I wrote the intro notes but I couldn't resist here.
I hope that today you’ll help someone else to Shine.
André Natta moved to Birmingham in 2004 because he wanted to play a role in the rebirth of the Magic City. He is a journalist and urban conversationalist--someone who seeks to find and tell the stories that aren't being told.
André set out to fill a gap in local news coverage when he established the hyperlocal website, The Terminal: Birmingham's Hub and that site was immensely helpful to me when I set out to discover more about Birmingham when I moved here in 2009.
Our conversation covers a lot of territory. We talk about the impact of the digital revolution on traditional media, the role of the traditional media, and the new voices that are emerging to help write and share the new stories about Birmingham. Near the end of our conversation, André says, in reference to Birmingham's emerging new identity: "I believe this city was built to change the South." I hope you'll listen and find out what he means.
Complete show notes and more are available at http://birminghamshines.com