BrickCityLive.com will be going on our semi-annual holiday hiatus from Saturday, December 24 through New Year’s Day, and returning on Monday, January 2nd. But just because we’re going a way for a little while doesn’t mean you can’t spend some time with us. Here are three things you can do next week while we decamp, decompress and finish honing our direction for 2017.

#1: Read some of our work from throughout the year

This year, we were proud to publish a number of special features and profiles of people and businesses who are influencing the city, stories about the trends that might shape our city for years to come, and interactive stories that enabled readers to look at the city with a slightly different lens. Here’s a sampling of those stories:

#2: Take our annual survey to help us improve BCL

We’re proud of Brick City Live, but what we publish here is only a fraction of what we aspire to. A lot of our decisions are about balancing depth with consistency, and are driven by a desire to establish a strong and self-sustaining foundation for BrickCityLive.com so that the site is well-fortified and consistent, even as it remains small and close to the ground.

Achieving this will also let us more consistently publish stories that are in-depth, cover much more of the city’s geography, are more issues-oriented, and help residents and others better understand what transpires here and how they can help co-create the city that they would like to see. We’re also obsessed with uncovering opportunities for fun, levity, personal and professional growth and connections to critical resources.

This is the essence of “building your airplane while you fly it,” and that is a tall order for our skeleton crew of one editor and a handful of contributors. Balancing our aspirations against our resources, and figuring out what role our tiny hyperlocal plays in the information landscape of the city, is a major part of the behind-the-scenes work of publishing this site.

So next week, in between naps, we will also be taking time to firm up our 2017 (and onward) plan. We absolutely need your help to influence our priorities and vision. Please take our annual reader survey to help us keep building a better BrickCityLive.com.

#3: Share your expertise

We’re looking for a handful of regular columnists willing to share their expertise on matters of importance to Newarkers across just about any topic imaginable. These can include, but are not limited to, social justice, city planning, architecture, philanthropy, employment, social services, entrepreneurship, business, technology, sports, education, criminal justice and policing, urban policy, real estate, local and statewide government and civics, environmental justice, art, music and entertainment.

Contributions can take on written, visual or audio formats, and BrickCityLive.com will pay a stipend to regular columnists. We’re looking for people who are able to contribute from a position of expertise: as practitioners and/or scholars of the subject for which they’re interested in contributing. If you’re interested, please email news@brickcitylive.com, and include “columnist” in the subject line.

We’re also extending an open-ended invitation for op-eds for possible publication to BrickCityLive.com. Please send your 600 to 800-word op-eds (no pitches please) to news@brickcitylive.com, and include “op-ed” in the subject line.

On behalf of everyone who contributes to running BrickCityLive.com, I thank you for continuing to rock with us for three years and counting. We are so excited for what’s already in the works for next year, and look forward to hearing from you, having you influence our work, and possibly even working with you personally. Have a safe holiday, and we look forward to coming back fresh and ready to work in 2017!

Yours,

Andaiye Taylor

Founder & Editor, BrickCityLive.com

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