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Opening Volley

You don’t typically have moments of ringing self-actualization at a yard sale. Yet, there I was, feeling so satisfied in my savvy wheeling and dealing that I hadn’t noticed I was internally critiquing the marketing approach of a kids’ lemonade stand. “F&K’s Froot Juice?? Well, that’s unfortunate. Looks a lot like an F-bomb. And what [...]
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You don’t typically have moments of ringing self-actualization at a yard sale.

Yet, there I was, feeling so satisfied in my savvy wheeling and dealing that I hadn’t noticed I was internally critiquing the marketing approach of a kids’ lemonade stand.

“F&K’s Froot Juice?? Well, that’s unfortunate. Looks a lot like an F-bomb. And what the hell is froot? You’re serving Lemon-E Tang Dream, guys! You can barely read that hand-written sign underneath…that’s your niche, you gotta push that!”

I don’t know if you need a better example of entrepreneurial culture run rampant than a 34-year-old man in cargo shorts holding a used SodaStream, playing Wolf of Victorian Village, contemplating brand consultation for unassuming third graders.

I should have taken it much easier on them. They’re already better at business than I ever have been or will be (evidenced by the fact that they pushed four chocolate chip cookies on me and my girlfriend in 90-degree heat).

During those mock business plans we were assigned in elementary school, I was always the kid that would waste all his seed capital on posters and “vibe” and run out of money before you could get a product on the shelves. (In my defense, I may have also inflated the demand for “custom-made” bologna sandwiches).

Business has just never been my thing. I knew I was destined to be more a creative than a capitalist when I watched all those ’80s movies celebrating the power brokers and indefatigable Wall Street warriors, and ended up identifying with the guys on the bottom of the ladder. Remember Glengarry Glen Ross? If Alec Baldwin’s Blake character was blasting away at me, I’d probably sheepishly agree with him. “Coffee is for closers? Okay, I’ll just have a lemonade and show myself out.”

It’s probably why I’m so impressed with the business culture that has arisen during the last decade in Columbus. Here, the guppies are allowed to swim in the Shark Tank, eventually making their own waves.

And it’s not because they’re independently wealthy or even ruthless; Mikey, Nina, Jeni: they’re all branding geniuses who have crafted a template for how to, quite literally, make a name for yourself in this town.
They’re doing it by becoming successful in careers that weren’t presented to them – or anyone – traditionally.

No one wakes up and decides to be the drag queen that emcees Highball Halloween alongside the mayor. The former pedicab-driver-turned-pizza-peddler? Nope. That’s not a thing. Well, actually, it is now.

But it’s not all pizza and ice cream, kids. You need more than a good idea and some solid branding to get by. You gotta have a plan.

Which is why, this month, we take a look at a few others who have carved out alternative career paths for themselves, and have them put down a few breadcrumbs for the rest of you out there sitting on the next great Columbus moneymaker.
And some of you most certainly are.

But how to make it a reality? Or maybe more importantly, how do you steer clear of the landmine that will f*ck it all up?

This month’s cover story, “Like A Boss” (page 55) is more than just starched-stiff business profiles – it’s a collective essay of functional philosophy for the new world of commerce, one this city has clearly embraced.

It’s also been a great resource for me to finally get my very first business idea back in the works:

Coffee is for closers.

And bologna is for believers.

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Opinion

Publisher: We can do better, free speech isn’t easy

Wayne T. Lewis, Publisher

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When we started (614) Magazine over a decade ago our focus was on telling stories that helped people enjoy and experience our growing city. It was a simple mission - to focus on all the positive additions that make life more enjoyable here. 

Along the way we’ve written about culture too. From documenting the rise of the local Somali population to the establishment of a proud LGBTQ community and most recently, documenting the contributions made by our immigrant neighbors. The magazine was awarded Best Monthly Magazine by the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists as a result of some of that coverage. It was our 3rd time receiving that honor.

That mission has not changed. (614) is focused on the positive and the good things that our community brings to the table.

In the past few years we’ve added a digital component (614now.com) that has added news-style coverage of events we deem “newsworthy” or interesting to our audience. Since we live in very interesting times to say the least, some of this coverage attracts slings and arrows from time to time. From all sides. Our misuse of “their” and “they’re” notwithstanding.

It’s part of the business and we accept that we won’t be perfect nor do we expect our entire audience - hundreds of thousands of you - to laud our every headline.

What we do and will continue to commit to is the principle that free speech and the free press are precious things. We won’t deny your ability to comment in our stories (as long as you keep it civil) as so many other media does, nor will we refuse to publish speech, commentary or interviews that some may find offensive. If the subject matter is relevant to Columbus or events transpiring here, we’ll provide a platform. That said, we’re fairly new to the “news” game and we acknowledge that we could do certain things better. 

This is never more evident than with the current uproar by some over our coverage of the “Proud Boys” episode. For some, including other members of local media, to imply that we are somehow “Nazi sympathizers” because we chose to publish the unedited words of people involved in the march is unfair to the honest, thoughtful people working here. That said, we could have done a few things better... 

Our quick-to-publish style that may suit a story about a new donut shop opening doesn’t serve us as well with serious or controversial topics. We plan to slow down and establish more editorial oversight by and between our content team. We could have added more critical context to the story and worked harder to get an additional point of view. We hear the critics and frankly, appreciate the fact that you care (well, most of you) to see us get it right.

I can assure you our agenda is not about clicks (we removed ads from this story after it became so controversial) nor taking sides in any political or cultural debate - no matter how righteous an opinion may be. It’s about respecting our audience and your ability to make up your own minds after reading the words and deeds of antagonist and protagonist alike. 

We think you’re all smart and capable enough.

Justice Louis Brandeis observed, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” While a commentary on government corruption at the time, it held that evil lurks and grows in the darkness and that a free society depends on the open-airing of all views, no matter how distasteful. This axiom was also long held as an operating principle within journalism. I still believe this to be true and the right thing to do. 

We choose to maintain, even cherish, our freedom to publish all relevant sides to the many debates that are sure to follow. You are likewise free to leave your opinion below these stories. We also welcome longer-form opinions, even ones critical of us, at [email protected]

We only ask that you keep it civil and remember that the people creating our content are doing their best to be fair and open-minded. Oh, and none of us are Nazi sympathizers so there’s that too.

Wayne T. Lewis
Publisher

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Govt & Politics

Op-Ed: We won battle with Heartbeat Bill block, war continues

Caitlin Horwatt

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Ohio’s controversial “Heartbeat Bill” has been ​blocked by a federal court​, just days before it was slated to go into enforcement on July 11. The ruling is a temporary win for pro-reproductive rights activists and Planned Parenthood, ensuring that abortion clinics in the state of Ohio can stay open. But, the war over a woman’s right to her bodily autonomy is only ramping up.

The law would have banned abortions in the state of Ohio after six weeks, the earliest time in a pregnancy when a fetal heartbeat may be detected and well before many women know they are pregnant. There were to be no exceptions for rape or incest, although there would be exceptions when the life of the mother was in danger. The law would have classified violations as fifth-degree felonies, carrying up to one year in jail time and up to $2,500 in fines as a sentence.

The ​halt was ordered ​by Judge Michael Barrett of the Southern District of Ohio U.S. District Court. Barrett pointed out that the bill placed an “undue burden” on a woman seeking to terminate a pre-viability pregnancy. The law was on its face unconstitutional, a blatant attempt to overturn the federal government’s long standing decision to give women the right to the decisions regarding their bodies. Conservatives have tried to limit bodily autonomy well before women had the right to abortions; however, they fail to attack problems like infant poverty and child hunger with the same veracity.

The bill was part of a larger strategy that’s occurred nationwide at the hands of Republican lawmakers. The right to an abortion will stand nationally as long as Supreme Court rulings, including ​Roe v. Wade,​ remain in effect. By hammering out heartbeat bills nationwide, conservatives increase their chances of getting a ruling appealed up to the Supreme Court and from there the conservative-leaning court overturning ​Roe​.

Abortions are not only justified in the case of rape or incest, which has been a clickbait-inducing theme around this controversy. Abortion is a part of reproductive healthcare, a procedure nearly one in four women​ have before the age of 45. If lawmakers are so concerned about decreasing abortion rates, presumably because of a concern for the lives of the fetuses, they should fund comprehensize sex education ​and support for impoverished children already in this country.

The right to an abortion goes further than an outright ban. Strict regulations are a backdoor way to limit abortions, claiming to regulate the abortion providers for safety purposes. The state of Missouri​ famously has just one embattled abortion clinic ​still open and providing procedures, with the fight to keep the clinic licensed and running regularly boiling down to the wire in the past several months.

It is easy to move on from this debate when a new shocking headline runs about the state of politics or the crisis at the border. Wins like this, though important, cannot be accepted as permanent. As long as conservative lawmakers are proposing bills and regulations that limit abortion care, there is a battle to be fought, because we won’t go back.

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Govt & Politics

OP-ED: Heartbeat Bill will likely affect 11yo Ohio rape victim

Caitlin Horwatt

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The passage of Ohio’s recent “heartbeat bill,” signed by Governor DeWine, marks a massive and distressing win in the conservative quest to outright ban abortion. All parties supporting the bill—from DeWine to legislators and lobbyists—are well aware that the action will be blocked by courts as they uphold Roe v. Wade, which protects the right to abortion until 24 weeks gestation. We should be frightened as we explore whether their big picture goal is to get Roe v. Wade overturned by the decidedly conservative Court.

By banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected, the law prohibits abortion as early as eight weeks, well before many women know they are pregnant. Add in the already mandatory twenty-four hour waiting period between first appointment and procedure, and the likelihood of legal abortion for even a pregnancy detected early seems slim. The law is an blatant attempt to ban women’s right to choose.

The Guttmacher Institute found that ​1 in 4 women​ has had an abortion before age 45. The Pew Research Center found that ​58% of Americans support legal abortion ​in all or most cases, with polarizing views against abortion coming mostly from Republican and religious Americans. These statistics fail to depict, though, how traumatic the impact can be for women forced to carry a child to term when she does not have the means or support to do so. The law is meant to protect the fetus at a term that is far earlier than the 22 to 24 weeks at which it is viable, all at the cost of the mother.

The bill notably does not give exceptions for cases of rape and incest, only allowing exceptions for medical necessity to save the mother’s life. This means an ​11 year-old rape victim from Massillon​ will likely have to carry her rapist’s baby to term.

Heartbeat bills do not ban abortion; they ban legal abortion. I think of a sign I saw during the 2017 Women’s March: a metal coat hanger with the words “WE WON’T GO BACK” scrawled below. The passage of this recent law achingly raises questions of whether or not we will go back.

Women who now find themselves pregnant could have their lives forever changed. Even if they choose to surrender the baby after birth, the cost of a pregnancy is astronomical and healthcare is far from a certainty in this country. If the pregnancy was caused by rape, the potential for trauma only escalates. Women will have few places to turn, with the most vulnerable unable to seek safe healthcare and the potential high for maternal deaths as part of botched abortions.

The ACLU and other organizations are already moving to challenge the ban in court. I can’t shake the looming feeling that these challenges will only play into the hands of those anti-abortion supporters, and that we may be entering the most important fight of our generation in this fight for a woman’s right to choose.

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