In mid-2012, I decided I wanted to try something new. For 18 years, I’ve worked in journalism–for The Associated Press, for small- and medium-sized daily newspapers. For the last 11, I’ve reported and edited stories about the regional environment working with The Allegheny Front. But I wanted to create something different–perhaps quirky but meaningful and revealing what motivates people we don’t always hear enough from. Working with other reporters for many months, a vision developed. We would go to the places and talk to the people that/who are relatively unknown and reveal stories in an artful way, using the latest technology and creative approaches. We would cover issues that others don’t have time for. We know there’s a rich media landscape here, and we don’t expect to compete with it so much as to complement it. For a while I’ve been calling this endeavor a This American Life treatment of local issues, in homage to the public radio show that’s gained a following for weekly thematic storytelling. I haven’t yet figured out how to make money on this dream, though I think I’m getting better at grant-writing and accepting rejection. Next post: the first topic and people this project will cover.