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So, why does The Terminal exist?

06.8.2007 by AndrĂ© Natta · → 3 Comments

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“Why did you start this thing?” “Why didn’t you stay with your old job while you got The Terminal started?” “Betsy thinks you’re crazy, doesn’t she?”

Those are just some of the questions that I’ve been asked on a daily basis since I decided to take a step back and take a leap of faith. The leap of faith is one that tells me that there are things that can be done with the Internet that were barely imaginable only a couple of years ago, including encouraging a city to dream just a little more than it does now.

BTW – the answers: because it just felt right; it would have never become what I wanted to start out to be without leaving to focus on it; and yes, but not any more than she thought before (and she is supportive).

People have been running community newspapers for years and many of them are doing quite well by focusing on what makes their communities unique. There are a lot of people that do not think of Birmingham as unique and may just want to see things stay the same.

What is new with this form of information, whether you call it a blog, a website, or a hub, is the notion of the “instant letter to the editor” – comments – that allow people to share what’s on their mind and know that it will be seen by those that may or may not agree with you. It also helps that you never have to worry about the top story; different things are important to different sets of people.

It allows people to see some of the things that currently take place in the region, making us unique.

I had a conversation with someone last night that put my whole theory in perspective. I believe that this is a City of Ideas. I believe that everybody in this city has a voice. Very few people actually choose to make their voice heard.

I’m one of those crazy New Yorkers that thinks that even if you agree completely with someone, you need to see what makes that opinion tick. It’s something that I’m sure has driven many of my former bosses crazy. But I think that if you don’t understand where someone is coming from, how can you truly say that you know or understand something. You can’t understand what their voice is trying to say.

The main reason for the creation of The Terminal was to begin to push the envelope of communication and conversation in The Magic City to a new level. I wanted to provide a place where those opinions could be questioned and conversation was encouraged. I hope that this site encourages that City of Ideas to flourish. I want to make sure that people are given a chance to be aware of everything going on before making blanket statements that are not necessarily true of their city, whether they’re from here or if they’ve adopted it as their home.

I freely admit that it’s a limited dialogue (for now) as this publication will stay relegated to the screens of laptops and PDAs. However, it would be great to see that online conversation lead to face to face conversations all over the city. I’ve heard many people say that we want to be world class. I’d love to argue that we already are pretty close to world-class, we just need to make the rest of the world aware of it. We also need to embrace those differences that seem to have divided us for some time now and use them to truly live the dream.

There are a few people I need to thank before we go much farther in this process, Charles Buchanan, Brook Hagler, Bob Farley, Curtis Palmer, John Morse, Chris “Mojo” Denbow, Wade Kwon.

Hopefully starting next week we’ll start demonstrating just how powerful this medium can be in terms of pushing the conversation forward. I hope you’re enjoying the ride so far.

André Natta is the publisher and managing editor of The Terminal. He may be reached either via e-mail at or 205.276.6585.

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