Letter from the editor: How we got here

Dion Beary - Charlotte Contributor

One Saturday morning I was reading the Charlotte Agenda newsletter. This was back when Ted Williams used to write them. He’d always include a bunch of hot takes about Brooks Brothers, Steven Furtick, and how much craft beer it takes to be drunk.

That morning, he said something that kicked my ass. “Charlotte doesn’t really have a true firebrand columnist.”

I’d been writing for years at that point. Goofy stories in my middle school classes had turned into sarcastic articles in my college newspaper. I’d published some kind of small things in Creative Loafing and Pride, along with some kind of big things in Yahoo and The Atlantic.

But unbeknownst to me, this call to action was about to set in motion a years long hobby/job/obsession for me: creating my dream Charlotte media platform.

The first thing was literally called Charlotte Column. I wrote totally unhinged articles about dating, food, and ugly apartments.

That ended when my now friend Katie Levans discovered it, and asked me to write for Charlotte Agenda.

Then, I started the Blue Line. It was sort of like The Skimm for Charlotte media, distilling the best writing in Charlotte Five, QC Metro, Queen City Nerve, and Charlotte Agenda into a singular newsletter. That ended when I realized it takes hours to read everything, and “blue line” took on a different, more racist meaning.

My next attempt was Inside 485, which was longform writing on Charlotte food. I started it four months before the worst global pandemic in a century destroyed dining in Charlotte.

And now we’ve landed here. Charlotte Contributor. I’ve worked on this during late nights and weekends for the past few months. I’ve texted friends and trusted advisors about it. And honestly? I still don’t know if it’ll work.

The concept is this: I’m going to publish almost whatever Charlotte writers want to create. Many of them will be paid for it.

And that’s pretty much it. I don’t really know how that makes money. I just know that I truly believe there are great writers in this city who want to create insanely original stories, and they just need a place where they can be given an opportunity to develop.

I hope this is that.

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