11 Nov Tenant Spotlight: Witty Gritty LLC
A: Basically, Witty Gritty started as just me [Michelle Freeman] – a solo consultant focused on outreach work and event coordination. In 2010 I was given the opportunity to start working on an online publication called Flying Kite owned by a media company in Detroit called Issue Media Group, which was in the process of expanding to Philly. I started off as publisher and needed to make a couple of hires, which is how I met Jaison and Jermaine. Now we have a team of seven.
Q: What is Witty Gritty’s mission?
We’re very civic minded in the work that we do — there’s an element of home-town pride. A lot of the neighborhood and community outreach work that we do is rooted in the belief that people should know that they have agency. Its more often than not a lack of connection, knowledge or information about resources that holds residents back from being able to empower their own work or passion. So if we can be a connector, and a facilitator where appropriate, that’s what we want to do. We also try to focus on people and places that are often under or misrepresented.
Q: How do you accomplish this?
Over the years we’ve run a program called On the Ground with the media company we work with. Part of that effort is to locate in vacant commercial spaces along commercial corridors that are easy to access by public transportation. Essentially the idea is to create popup community media hubs in new places every quarter.
Then if we zoom out a bit, our goal is to connect people across neighborhoods who are asking similar questions or finding solutions to shared issues but don’t have a common way of sharing information.
I hope this new publication we are launching can add a level of sophistication to the local media scene here, and I want us to redefine the concept of a community newspaper. Philly deserves nice things and all residents deserve access so that’s what we’re hoping to keep working towards. For those who are interested, you can join us for our official launch party of our new publication on December 5.
Q: What is grassroots marketing?
A: It’s actually a coined term that political campaigns usually employ – we are grassroots in the sense that try to figure out how people in a neighborhood are usually reached, take notice of the feel of a neighborhood and meet with community leaders to learn how people want to be reached. We don’t go door-to-door but we do use creative, almost guerilla marketing strategies to reach people.
Q: What are you up to this weekend?
A: We’re heading down to Philly Free Streets, we are running the digital content strategy for the event. One of the services we offer is to build a social media strategy and presence in the lead up to an event, and then offer on-site social media management day of. Sometimes depending on the scenario we’ll offer auxiliary support instead. That’s what we’re doing for PhillyCAM